Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Studying Sin

I've had my Bagels & Blessings hat on for a few days now. I realize that I'm probably wearing myself a little thin with all the Bible study that I'm doing. I'm leading a Beth Moore study, just started Love & Respect with another couple, and I'm teaching a series on Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets the Free. While some of it totally relates and it is wonderful, I feel like I really cannot stay in one place too long.

Anyway, studying Lies we believe about sin. Wow! I realize that the problem of sin is really the topic of the entire Bible: how sin began and what God chose to do about it because He loves us that much. He takes sin seriously. In light of this and without divulging too much at this point (before my teaching) I just wanted to spend some time this morning practicing gratitude.

Continuing with my 1000 gifts

Thank you Lord for:

146. Making a way of escape for your people.
147. Your Word which provides instructions for life and living.
148. Your undeserved Grace and Mercy.
149. Loving us that much! (to send your Son).
150. The gift of time to study and the heart to want to.
151. Satisfying my needs in a sun-scorched land (or cold cracked land).
152. A husband that helps make learning Your Word fun and interesting!
153. Curious children who ask lots of questions.
154. Establishing Yourself as our authority in this home.

Romans 3:23-25 "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Dog Dodger

How could he not just steal your heart? Look at those eyes! We thought about this, (or I've thought about this) for some time now. It is the perfect time to raise a puppy. We are home all the time with Pop plus I homeschool..so really we are home all most every day, all day. By the time we are actually able to go away for a little bit, he should be trained well enough for someone to care for him (if we ever get to go camping in our new tent!)

So Dodger is our 9 week old hound/lab mix! The humane society was going to euthanize his Mommy while she was pregnant with 10 puppies. Pawsabilities, the organization we adopted from, rescued Autumn, our puppy's Mom, and she gave birth to 5 girls and 5 boys. I found out on Craigs List that Pawsabilities was showing their pups at Petco from 10-3 one day and my friend Katie and I took our children...just to look!

He totally chose me! I'm not kidding. I went over to the gated area and he practically jumped right into my arms. Love at first sight! The boys loved him too, but Dad was bent on "if we are going to do this, I'd like to give it to them on Christmas morning!" Well, thanks to Katie (whom by the way, adopted Dodger's brother and name him Tanner) brought both puppies back to her home for a week. So my boys could be totally surprised!

Well, my boys never in a million years would have thought they were getting a puppy. They pretty much thought my husband was Cruella DeVille, a puppy hater, since I told them that Daddy wasn't a dog person. (I had to think of something quick!)

On Christmas morning after a very long night...I let the kids open their stockings. In their stockings were those little caramel candies with the white cream in the center. Brendan saw that and immediately said..."Aww remember that caramel looking dog at the pet store?" Then at the bottom of their stocking was their annual ornament...it was a hound dog. Right after opening that..I brought the puppy out of the room. Brendan said it the best..."I almost could breathe, Mom!" They were totally in shock...couldn't believe it was theirs...to keep! So happy..we were all exhausted by the end of the day (puppy included). A special thank you goes to our Grandma Carole who sent us some money for Christmas. I'm looking forward to many fun/fond memories...if we can get past the "mouthing" stage and the "cat meets dog" stage...we are home free! He is a very good puppy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Go Home Another Way

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Matthew 2:11-12

Krispy Kreme is a big thing in Florida. I had never heard of them until we moved here and it is all that, let me tell you! I have had maybe two or three Krispy Kremes in all of the 7 years I've been in Florida, but that are absolutely delicious. Pretty much everyone here loves them.

At our Christmas Eve service our pastor left a box of Krispy Kremes on every car window and we were instructed that since we came and had an opportunity to worship Jesus together (like the wise men) we were to go back to our home "another way" and deliver these donuts to someone who was working in our community on Christmas Eve. How beautiful of an idea!
I want to share my encounter on Christmas Eve...it was most definitely a divine appointment. I came home and before I had dinner needed to write these details down, so I wouldn't forget them!

As I went home "another way" tonight, Mike and I had taken two cars, so I went home alone. It was God's purpose for sure. I went to CVS and saw that there were already employees with their boxes of donuts. I stood in line at the photo section and was going to give it to the girl at the counter. She looked at me with my box and said..I think every employee has a box already. The woman in front of me looked back and said..."I'll take them!" and smiled, not quite making eye contact with me.

I looked at her and said, "would you like this box of donuts? I would love for you to have them along with my Merry Christmas wish to you!" She asked why we were giving them away and I told her I just had an opportunity to enjoy worship with my church family and we were encouraged to go and bless others who just might need it. She looked right into my eyes and said..."Well thank you, this is the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time." Her eyes welled up with tears and I placed my hand on her shoulder. I replied, "I guess this was supposed to happen just like this. I am glad this brought you a little joy." She responded with her crying voice and said, "My father just died two weeks ago, and I am having a very hard time celebrating anything." I put my purse down and looked right into her eyes and told her that I was sorry that she was in so much pain this Christmas, and that I totally understood. I relayed my own experience with her that my Dad had died of cancer 15 years ago 10 days before my birthday. In fact I video taped him a month before he died and have never been able to watch it. I told her that this very week, my boys and I were watching old home movies and sure enough I had the courage to see/hear my Dad for the first time in 15 years. I told her that I too shed many tears this week.

We finished our conversation with me saying that I would pray that the Lord would comfort her heart. She said she really could use that comfort. She asked if she could give me a hug and I so absolutely. When we embraced, she did not let go, so I held her head close to me as I whispered this short prayer in her ear.."Father send your Holy Spirit to comfort her heart, let her know You, the Prince of Peace and may she find joy in the midst of her sorrow." Amen. She sobbed right there in line at the photo section of CVS right here in Edgewater! I just couldn't believe it! If you read this and believe in the power of prayer...say a little prayer for Melissa!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

I can't believe it has been so long since I've written. December is a busy month, even though I purposely tried to slow things down. However, with that said, we still had a wonderful month of making memories and following traditions!!

I do so much baking this time of year that for Christmas Eve, when we have our Birthday Party for Jesus I let the kids take charge. We do cupcakes because...well, there is just too many sweets around this time of year. The last thing I want is a cake lying around.

It is just really special to be able to enjoy Pop every Christmas. My boys will forever have the memories of times like this with their Great Grandfather. Pop is going to be 93 in February. Above we are singing to Jesus!

The we do our traditional..."What God Wants for Christmas". Pretty much, it is the gospel message. Here Pop is opening the box that has Joseph in it! He had fun...that blessed my heart!

What God wants for Christmas was in box number 7. I make everyone look in box 7 and ask them what they see. In box number 7 is a mirror...so they know that God wants Pop, Shane, Kyle, Mike, Brendan and Lisa for Christmas. He wants our hearts, our love, our lives!

We then go and open a few grandparent gifts (always the same things...Hess Trucks & new Christmas PJs!) - my kids look forward to both!
Then, of course, my Kyle believes in everything! He'll tell you straight up...I believe in everything!! Brendan is skeptical and well Shane had enough..he had to know the truth. He has been so great about not saying anything to his brothers! Here are Santa's treats, and of course Brendan's note. Which of course I will reply..."If you really want to know...go ask your Mom!"

Later I will write about my encounter with a woman I met tonight as I went home from Church, "another way." It was a total divine appointment. Stay tuned. OH and I'm going to have to post a picture of our Christmas Surprise!
Merry Christmas to any and all that read this!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Taking Moments For Memories

Kyle spies something beautiful, wonderful and totally memory worthy! A family that hikes together, plays together and makes the most of their time together!
I have two newsletter articles to write, sleep to catch up on, laundry to sort, and studying to do...but I had to crank out one more blog, hoping that will clear my mind so I can complete my tasks.

I love the fact that we are trying to make it a priority around here to take some moments for making memories. We used to call it Sacred Saturday, when we could actually do something as a family on Saturday...now we take it when we can! It has been a struggle to get out of the house together as a family for a very long time. Mike's grandfather needs round the clock care and so it is virtually impossible, unless we take him with us, to go anywhere together. (Except for those times when someone watches Pop...and we have indeed been blessed from time to time with amazing people who will do just that!)

So on the days that Pop goes to Respite we are making an effort to enjoy one of those days out of the house! Side note here...let me just say how amazing the Council On Aging has been to our Pop and to us. They totally understand the needs of caretakers and how challenging it is. If you are in a situation where you are going to be caring for someone, look them up, they are wonderful!

Anyway, Tomoka State Park is where we chose to go on our first Moment for Memory Making Family Day! It was wonderful..chilly weather for us thinned blooded northerners, but wonderful all the same!

So we head out early in the morning...binocs on, bird book and tree book ready on hand!! It was absolutely beautiful! I think the park is noted for its live oak hammock with arching limbs covered with Spanish moss, resurrection fern and green-fly orchid were spotted as well. Love that as we walked there were rangers walking the trails too, so we could ask questions whenever we had one! We even saw some Florida holly! (So special because of it be so close to Christmas.) I have to say my favorite thing to see was the Florida Bobcat! YES!! Very cool! Couldn't get a picture though! Sorry! Next time..and there will be a next time...here is why:

Super interesting the way these live oaks twist and turn!

Timucuan Indians I'm sure once fished in this very spot!

As we passed through the ancient Timucuan village site of Nocoroco, a once thriving community along the banks of the Tomoka River. We asked our boys to imagine what it might have been like to live here a thousand years ago. We walked where they actually walked, were seeing some of the very same things. Wonderful, fun and educational!

As we were hiking along, really again, with no map or anything, we did come across this statue of Chief Tomokie! Interesting piece of art! You can learn more about The Legend of Chief Tomokie here.
Well, one of our big goals during these memory making moments is to see to it that our eyes begin to reflect our hearts! Psalm 103:4-5 says "He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things!" That's what I'm talking about! Thank you Lord!

Kyle, Brendan and Shane can spy Mom and Dad...loving every single bit of this time together!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Value of Things Eternal

I'm a little nervous, and I'm not sure why. I've been vulnerable in the past, in front of large groups of people...sharing my testimony and teaching. However, I sit here, somewhat trepidatious about exposing my heart. Well, here it goes. Perhaps by the time I've completed this entry, you and I will be equally blessed.

I've recently taken a very good look at myself in my photos from 2010. Noticing something, I started to compare them to the pictures of myself in 2009. It was uncanning. I would pull pictures up to the screen and look...it was my eyes. I would see myself smiling, but in 2010 my eyes tell a different story than my smile. They look tired, strained, beaten down. It is true. I'm thinking that is one of the reasons 2010 doesn't show too many blog posts either. I was most definitely going through some serious stuff in 2010.

We are about to say goodbye to 2010..and I for one, am looking forward to it! There were many blessings, please don't misunderstand. God has been so good to me, my family, our lives. No doubt. However, my husband and I were under serious attack, really from the summer of 2009 until the present.
I don't need to go into all the details at this time of some of the serious attacks that we had to endure. There were times I felt like...wow..am I going to survive this battle? Some of what we went through was so clearly the work of the enemy to try to bring us down...that is what he does best..wears on you until you are beaten down enough that you finally give in. Oh, how on this side of things now, I can totally see the benefit in hanging on to God's Word!! So much of my passion for His Truth was birthed through this past year and a half of pain. Wounds that cut deep into my heart and the heart of my my husband. To make matters worse, Mike was unemployed for a good portion of these months. So add that circumstance to an all out onslaught of "twilight zone" type of attacks...you could possible see why my eyes might read: worn out!

Why these pictures? Most recently, this past week in fact, life has changed dramatically once again. While the changes are good on one hand, it still leaves this family in a place of holding. I understand how powerful the tongue is, as words that have recently been spoken that have literally attempted to tear my husband's heart into shreds. It has been most difficult for me to watch and hear, and know that those same thoughts are for me as well.

After calling someone to share good news about a family situation, my husband was deflated! He shared that conversation with me and afterwards we got on our knees and laid it at the altar. While I was on my knees, next to this man I've been married to for almost 20 years, it hit me, how many times we have knelt at this very place over the past 18 months? Grateful to a Father in Heaven to truly fights our battles and gives us supernatural abilities to forgive. Praise you Jesus, without that I am pretty sure we would not have survived. After praying, my husband puts his arms around me and says this: "You could have married anybody 20 years ago! Someone with a good steady job, making money, with a family who loves him and you! You could have had a house with decent carpeting and windows that work and aren't a danger to your children! You could have gone on vacations, and not have to be stuck here because of our situation, not able to get away even for a night with your family! You could have...."

I turned to this man, that I married on December 15, 1990, held his face in my hands, looked him straight into his tear filled eyes and with my own tears running down my face said this: "There was never and will never be a man on this earth that could be better than the one I am looking at right now! If I had married "anyone else", I wouldn't have the three most amazing gifts from God (my boys)! I am fully aware of the value of things eternal!! I have a husband who I can kneel at the side of our bed and take our burdens to the altar with! I have a husband whom I find sitting in his chair in the morning with the Bible opened up...and sitting next to him is his 9 year old son with his Bible opened too! I have a husband who is a Godly example for our sons! I have a husband who is not afraid to be silly and play games with his boys!I have a husband who lovingly cares for his 92 year old grandfather and actually gets joy from do so! I have a husband who goes out of his way to minister to the very people who have hurt him so deeply. A husband who is obedient to the Lord and His Word, even when the world would think he is insane! I have a husband who makes it a priority to pray for people and demonstrates that in his own home, with his own family! These are the things that are of worth! I don't care about windows that don't work, I don't care about carpeting that is horribly disgusting, I don't care about family/relationship drama, I care about the things that matter, the things that matter for eternity!! I have the utmost respect for this man I have had the honor of calling my husband for the past 20 years! I'm pretty sure that the Lord is pleased with this man as well!

Lord, may 2011 bring us joy not only in our hearts, but in our eyes too! Thank You for Your amazing love and for the man You gave me 20 years ago!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't You Just Love It?

Trimming the Christmas tree, Bing Crosby singing in the living room, the smell of something baking in the oven, going through all of the Christmas books and reminiscing of Christmases past..."Don't you just love it Mom?" says my Brendan as we carefully place those lights on the tree...just so! "What's that Brendan?" "The Spirit of Christmas...it just makes my heart so happy!" says my 9 year old!

Indeed it does. There is something about this day that we have always loved. I love it because it is drenched in tradition (wonderful, joyous tradition) that I know my boys will continue on long after Mike and I have gone. It is just what we do, and we do it well.

In years past, I always tell the story about each and every ornament. This year, the boys are remembering more and more. So in my mind, as I was handing those ornaments to be hung, I was picturing my boys as men, handing those ornaments out and saying these very same words:
"Oh that was for my Mom & Dad's favor at their wedding, you know they got married 10 days before Christmas, way back in 1990!"

"Oh this ornament was my grandmothers when she was a little girl, let's be very careful, it is very delicate."

"Ha! I remember my Mom would always try to hide this one in the back of the tree, but it was very special to my Dad. His Mom had that ornament when she was a little girl!"

"These were the ornaments Mom and Dad would get before they could have children. They got these in Vermont."

"Oh this one was from the Jonases, and this from Mrs. Gorman..my first birthday, I made this in 2nd grade."

The stories go on and on and on! I can't tell you how much this makes my heart swell.

As we trim the tree and listen to the songs play in the background such rich and wonderful conversations are always birthed. Singing...Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Shane says.. "Mom who was Gloria?" or "What does 'pa rump pa pump pum" mean?" or "Why do those boys (Vienna Boys Choir) sound like girls?" Makes me smile!!

This year, Mike's grandfather is 92 and he suffers from Alzheimer's. He lives with us (or we with him..however you want to look at it!) It was very sweet today. He came up to the table with the boys and waited patiently for his ornament to hang on the tree. He never use to do that, in previous years he would sit and watch, but not this year, he fully participated and it was so precious! We don't know how many years he will have with us, so my boys get to have this memory too: Their great-grandfather trimming the tree with them! Priceless!

And finally, it was Kyle's turn to place the angel on the tree. Every year a different boy gets to place the angel on the tree. I cry a little on the inside, knowing that someday, they won't need Dad to reach the top. Oh Lord, help me to always cherish all of these moments, as I know time goes by so quickly!

The Day after Thanksgiving....2010!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

I tossed and turned about what to write. I wanted to pick up with my "1000 Gifts" posting, but then I get stuck in this rut where I feel the need to be creative with my writing and making sure it is meaningful and purposeful. However, that is why I'm writing a book..this is supposed to be the place where I keep my journal..my life...my happenings..so we don't forget. So here it is!

Traditionally we make this peppermint bark...really to help ring in the Christmas season. We try to do it on Thanksgiving Eve. Here are some pictures from last night!

Actually there is something so rewarding about crushing those candies...not sure what it is yet..
Look at the intensity on Kyle's face! A little outlet perhaps for pent up aggression? Who knows?? hehehe!!

Anyway, after two days of cooking, my husband does an amazing job, we have the traditional Thanksgiving fare with my cousin from Jacksonville..as is our tradition. She makes the best stuffing! Above you can see we didn't go without dessert...that white washed picture would be the boys peppermint bark & my terrible photography!

As we sat around the table here is some of the things I heard:

I'm thankful for Jesus and how much He loves us all.
I'm thankful for my wife.
I'm thankful Jim & Ilene get to spend Thanksgiving with us every year!
I'm thankful for my Mom & Dad
I'm thankful for Mike & Lisa and that we are able to spend this special day with them and their boys.
I'm thankful for God's provision in our lives.
I'm thankful for gift of homeschooling my children.
I'm thankful for my children.
I'm thankful for this turkey and all of this amazing food.
I'm thankful for our friends and family.
I'm thankful for my brothers, I always have friends to play with.

William Bradford, when he was first elected governor of Plymouth Rock, said that they were going to set aside a day every year to give thanks to the Lord for His provision. I'm glad that we do the same...I'm glad too, however, that we don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks to the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good & His love endures forever!

Here is my personal portion of 1000 gifts...

Thank you Lord for...

135. Every way you provide for every need (as sometimes it is not how we think).
136. Close snuggle time with my most precious gifts of all.
137. The ability to homeschool my precious gifts.
138. Friends and family that love each other for who they are.
139. Your gentle reminders that my body needs to rest.
140. The warm sunshine on my aching body.
141. The miracle of unconditional love.
142. The comfort of a nice new pillow.
143. The faith of a child who prays and waits for God to answer.
144. The TRUTH from God's Word that is ever so sustaining.
145. The freedom to read my Bible every single day of my life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Attack

I was recently going through some of what I have written for my book. I'm thinking if this book ever gets written I'll be glad (even if I'm 92 when I finish it!) I noticed that I had written a piece about divorce. Most likely (since it was 2007 when I wrote it) it was because I had just been going through an incredible time as I noticed an onslaught of attacks on marriages. Prior to my best friend's divorce 4 years ago, I had never really gone through such a thing. I mean, I knew people who were divorced, I even had people in my family that were, but I had never really experienced it up close and personal. My parents weren't married, so that really didn't even count.

Around that time, the Lord had brought 9 women across my path with troubled marriages -- all at one time. I had no idea their marriages were struggling (I didn't even know some of these women), but for some reason, the Lord knew, each one confided in me and I had a huge burden to lay at my Father's feet! I prayed for each one. I cried many tears. I rejoiced at reconciliation and I mourned the loss of loved ones through divorce.

It is now 4 years after that time in my life, and it is just like the enemy, he is still trying very hard to dissolve relationships. His lies are still the same!! Since then, I have had to walk that very difficult walk, yet again, with several very close friends and loved ones!! It is not easy..but I'm burdened more than ever to pray like never before.

In less than a month, I will have been married for 20 years to my husband. He is my brother in the Lord, a child of God, my best friend, my confidant, my covering, and much more to me. I pray for Mike all the time. Friends, I encourage you to pray for your Sons, Husbands, Fathers, Grandfathers, Sons-in-law. I found this video of.....well....my favorite story teller...Mark Schultz. I thought it would encourage all of us to pray.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicless 7:14

It is no big secret that the Enemy of our souls seeks to devour our marriages, our relationships, let's not let him have his way! It's not just marriages you know, its relationships - Mother/Daughter, Father/Son, Sister/Brother, you get the idea! God is well able to heal the hearts and lives of the ones we know and love who are struggling out there. He may not answer in the way we hope or think would be best, but He is the business of restoration, and for sure HE knows best. I have seen the hand of God at work in the lives of so many women, I Stand in awe of God. As I said before, some reconciled, some have not, some are still working hard, but the common thread - GOD IS STILL ON HIS THRONE, He is still in control.

So lets pray for one another ok!

There used to be a great video...all I can find now are the words...but they are powerful!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pink & Blue

I listened to the intro to this Marriage Conference last night. It is called Love & Respect by Emerson Eggeriches and his wife. It was so good! I want to listen to the whole conference now. He talked about how women see through pink shaded glasses and men see through blue shaded glasses. That everything we see we filter through those "shaded" lenses. Not only that, but we hear with pink hearing aids and we speak through pink megaphones. Of course, men hear with blue hearing aids and speak through blue megaphones. That is why we can say one thing to our man and he totally hears something else, but when we talk to our girlfriends they completely understand. I'm not going to go into all the details of his research, but suffice to say I think he has something here.

For example when a we as women go looking through our closets and drawers and say something like "I don't have anything to wear!" Men hear this (through their blue hearing aids) and think "What, you have two walk-in closets full of clothes, what are you talking about?" However, when women who also speak through pink megaphones and hear through pink hearing aids hears another woman say that very thing, they say.."Me either...come on let's go shopping!" Because really, what women are saying is that we have nothing new to wear! In the same way, if a man were to say that same thing "I don't have anything to wear!" to other men listening with their blue hearing aids...they respond by saying, "She's not doing your laundry either huh?" See, men say they have nothing to wear because they have nothing clean to wear. The whole idea is that men & women communicate so differently, not incorrectly, but differently. We have to learn to decode. He gave so many great examples, Mike and I were cracking up!

I found the picture above, because I was thinking, if women wear pink glasses, speak through pink megaphones and hear with pink hearing aids, and men wear blue glasses, speak through blue megaphones and hear with blue hearing aids, why is it that my boys at times don't understand what either my husband or I am saying. I think they will eventually have blue glasses, blue megaphones and blue hearing aids; but right now in their life, I think they have green! This is my own theory mind you. Not at all part of the Love & Respect book! I just find it funny that they speak a language of their own, have very special selective hearing and they too see things just a little differently.

Anyway, just food for thought! I love my boys, their uniqueness and their charm! They make our parenting journey so much fun!

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Beautiful Day

It started off with the smell of coffee and the sound of the pages turning in my favorite Book. Then He spoke to me through the pages. We spent the first part of this particular morning just talking with one another. Suddenly He surprised me with a gift. There in the midst of my chaotic life, a precious gift, beautifully wrapped. He beckoned me to open it..I decided to open it then and not wait, like I often do. There it was, on my lap, Peace. Oh and it was a very special gift. The Giver sat and smiled through the pages of The Book as I looked upon it with great delight. He told me that this particular gift is His continual gift to me and that it actually flows abundantly from His throne of grace. Here is the catch; every day, I must remember to meet him here...in our special spot, in this comfy chair right in my room. He told me that this gift is sufficient for the present, when I come to meet Him "by prayer and petition with thanksgiving" He will continue to pour this gift into my life.

It makes perfect sense to me. If He had chosen to give me a permanent gift of Peace, independent of His presence, I might just fall into the trap of self-sufficiency. He obviously loves me too much to let that happen to me! He wants to meet me right here...every single day! I'm glad He designed me to need Him moment by moment. It is a beautiful day, like I know every day can be if I remember to approach His throne of grace in confidence and in trust, receiving His Peace with a thankful heart.

See you soon.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Miracles on My Street!

Surprise Gift Package from NC!

To God Be The Glory -
Great Things He Hath Done!

Well, there is power in the testimony of the goodness of God! So, as someone requested, I will list some of the most recent miracles that have found the Engel family. Let me just say this. God has always been good to us...ALWAYS! I remember praying years ago, "Lord, please don't let us be wandering in the wilderness for 40 years...help us to be grateful and recognize your blessings in our lives and help us to remember your faithfulness even to a people who are not always faithful to you!" Lately, as I'm sure I've mention in another blog, I have been truly walking out my faith in the Word of God! It is after all God's Word!! His Word is TRUTH! We either believe it or we don't. We know we believe it when we act like we believe it. I'm not talking name it and claim it...not at all. I'm talking...read it and believe it!

So when it says in Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." I believe it. When 2 Corinthians 9 tells me "God is able to make all grace about to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." I understand that to be truth!

The Lord knew that we have had pillow woes for months! Today the UPS man delivered 5 brand new firm yet fluffy pillows! Thank you Jesus and thank you to the person that sent them.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it!" Malachi 3:10-12 I believe it so I'm obedient to His Word. There have been numerous times when we have written a check, offered it to the Lord, saying..."Well, Lord, we are trusting you!" He ALWAYS comes through.

My personal favorite: Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, & no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feel like the deer, He enables me to go on the heights!" I have changed this verse around to make it more personal...like "Though there is no food in the freezer, no job on the horizon, our cabinets are bare and the gas tank is on empty, yet I will rejoice!" We purposed to rejoice - no matter what! I will say these verses back to the Lord and remind Him of His Word. (He hasn't forgotten, but I want Him to know I'm leaning on Him!)

Here are just a few miracles: (wish I had pictures of all of them).

Serious tooth trouble...$2,000 worth of trouble. Went to bed and husband prayed Lord, how am I going to pay for this? Next day, a knock on my door...$800 in cash from random anonymous people...by the end I believe we're only having to pay $600 of this because of the Lord's generosity. Amazing Grace right?

Since Mike's unemployment over a year ago, we have received gift cards to food stores, cards and letters of encouragement filled with scripture and hope. Exactly when we have really needed to hear those very words.

One night, I remember sitting on my couch quoting that scripture from Habakkuk and I changed it around like I've written above. The very next day, I was driving someone home from a meeting at church and she said she had to clean out her freezer because her Father-in-law was on his way to fill up theirs and they had no room. She was going to throw out the food, unless I wanted it! (Freezer full!) That very same night a friend of mine was leaving the church and handed me an envelope and said...someone stopped by my store today and gave this to me to give to you...it was $300 in cash. No one could have possibly known that I had $25.00 in my checking account. God knew.

This past summer the Lord heard my private cry regarding my husband's grandfather whom we care for. This person came and blessed us by cleaning Pop's room and bathroom. Huge undertaking and one that I have so much trouble doing. Thank you Jesus.

Above you see my children painting. Private art classes are very expensive. This dear friend wanted to do this (I never in a million years would have even thought to ask), she fully supplied my children with their own container of 10 professional paint brushes and a set of 8 acrylic paints. She is also planning to come every week to give my boys a lesson for as long as she is in Florida. What can I say, but I'm so humbled that the Lord would provide for every need! Praise Him!

One day as we were walking into church, a lady came up to me and told me that she use to take care of elderly people. She wanted me to know that it would bless her to help with Pop if we needed it! WOW!!

That same Sunday, a man went up to my husband and shook his hand while handing him a $100 bill. Mike looked shocked and the man clicked Mike on the head and just said.."I don't know man, God just told me to do it - so don't give me that look!" He had no idea of my husband's silent prayers either. But God hears our prayers and answers them.

Last week we got a call from a friend of ours who says that the Lord wants them to provide Pizza dinner for my family every Friday night for as long as they can. (We should'nt worry about the food we eat..God feeds the birds of the air and the flowers of the field...)

That same week a woman came up to me in church and says she wants to take me to Sam's Club -- her treat! She said, it has been on her heart for awhile..she didn't really know why, but every time she thought about it, it made her heart so happy. WOW GOD!!

One day a friend of mine said, "I'm tired of just hearing about what God is doing, I told God I wanted to do something too. So the Lord told me as I was food shopping to buy the Buy-One-Get-One's and give the Get-Ones to the Engels!" She was so tickled!! She has done that a few times.

Most recently, we were at this place again where I had bills to pay, hardly any gas in my car and no money to buy groceries. My husband is so good to make so much with so little. He is really amazing that way! It appears that we have an IRS mistake to rectify as well. Learning not to be discouraged, I went to the Lord and thanked him for his provision and for wisdom on how to handle these things. The next morning, someone came up to me at church and handed me an envelope with yet another amazing answer to prayer! HE IS!!

Just today Mike got another rejection letter from nursing school...but we are trusting Him who has our future planned!

I could go on! Please remember this -

To God Be The Glory --

Great Things He Hath Done!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lingering Longer

I know it has been so long since I've actually sat down to write in this blog (technically this is my second in a few days). I think that the Lord has been doing so much in me that it was difficult enough to speak let alone write. I'm glad to report that my book is coming along. It is much deeper and more challenging than I ever imagined. Someday, I will have it in print.

I am presently learning the fine art of lingering. That's right, lingering. You see, I don't stop to linger in any one place long enough to enjoy it most times. I am presented with the challenge of living with, caring for, and schooling 3 boys, one of which is a special needs/learning disabled child (which by the way is one of the greatest joys of my life), but also a 92 year old Alzheimer's grandfather. I am acutely aware that neither one of these loved ones have opportunities to linger longer either. Kyle suffers from some short term memory issues when learning. OH he tries, and it sometimes sticks...but what it takes to stick would exhaust the average person. Pop, well, he has Alzheimer's. He doesn't linger with a thought or anything for more than 10 minutes. It breaks my heart!

So then there is me. I need to learn to linger longer with the Lord first and foremost. My time with Him is amazing. He has taught me more this past year than in my lifetime I think. Then I need to learn to linger longer with my loved ones. My husband and children. I think that my "Life is an Education" blog series may have been my undoing because I miss that time like you wouldn't believe. I really do think that after that trip, I long for nothing else, but to go back. Not because it was Miami and the Keys, but because we were forced to stay in one room together, we ate every meal together, we did exciting things together and my boys would say..we all went to bed together! We all miss Miami! Living the life we live with our grandfather certainly has it rewards, but it has incredible challenges as well. My boys are growing up so incredibly fast. I homeschool them, but I still can't get enough hugs, kisses and sweet talks.

So maybe your thinking about now...what does any of this have to do with these pictures (as cute as they are)?

Here I am, doing it! Lingering. My boys and I woke up last Thursday, started a pretty decent day of school and by 9:30am, I said...how about we go to the beach? Let's bring our favorite CDs (well Shane's favorite), a couple chairs and a bucket and shovel for each boy.
We laughed and played in the ocean. Kyle and I held hands for 35 minutes in the water, and he laughed like I haven't heard in a long time. Belly laughing is my favorite past time I think. We played our music nice and loud...sang as loud and silly as we wanted...it was 10:00am on a Thursday and hardly a person on the beach! Oh how desperately I needed that. I have been so bogged down with about 23 phone calls to return in a week, meetings almost every week and often times more than one a week. (I started turning my phone off during my school day because the thing rings continuously.)
I received some wise counsel from my friend Rhonda as she could totally see me going down the exhausting road known as "burn out." Pouring out without being replenished is very dangerous. I'm grateful for the Lord who is my supply, because sometimes I feel alone too, even in the midst of 23 phone calls to return. So, feeling the pressure all around, I realize sometimes, we need to snap out of it, get off the treadmill of life and hold hands and belly laugh. Ahhh..that feels so good!