Wednesday, May 30, 2018

...when loneliness settles over

 ...when pain and grief and anxiety conspire to push you over the edge of despair, remember God's mighty deeds in your life. Remember His kindness, His special, tailor-made graces that fell out of the sky like a gentle spring rain."

~Joni Eareckson Tada

Times of difficulty come to each of us in different forms over the years. We all struggle with things we suffer with....whether that be death of a treasured person (as many of us are mourning over the sudden death of Jewels), hurts and wrongs between loved ones, trials, tribulations, uncertainties, depression, physical ailments and more. Tears and feelings of loneliness and heart ache can seem too much...but we have a Lord who understands our hurts.

For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham.  Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For because He himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 2:16-18 

 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

You are not alone...ever. Children of God never need feel lonely...for He is there. And when sadness, grief, fear, and feelings of despair threaten to consume you ~ He is there. Cry out to Him. When the path before you seems uncertain and the future seems scary ~ you have nothing to fear for you have a great High Priest who goes before you! He is our ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1)!

Spend much time in prayer. Fancy words aren't needed....He knows the cries of your heart better than you do! Spend time in God's Word! Let Him talk to you! The psalms are full of help for the weary soul!

Isn't it a pure delight to know that the sovereign, most high, Lord of the universe, Creator of *all* loves His children? He adopted us as His very own! May we hold that truth tight and seek to know Him more! May we strive to live in obedience to His Word ~ for Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments...

"Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him."
John 14:15

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him."
John 14:23

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome...
1 John 5:3

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the very commandment you have heard from the beginning, that you must walk in love.
2 John 1:6

Sunshine-filled days and flowers can always improve my mood...even if just a little (not that I am in a "bad" mood right now...just a little solemn as I continually pray for Jewels' family as well as deal with some things in my own life right now). I'm sharing some photos from around our house recently. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and everything (although just a bit of simple landscaping) was lovely and made me smile.

I think it may rain tonight...which will be such a blessing. We planted in the big garden down on family land (green beans, corn and pumpkins) and it definitely needs the rain! I have planted my raised beds and been keeping them watered daily (as well as all my flowers). I don't mind watering everything...but the big garden is not near a water source so if it doesn't rain soon we may have to tote some water jugs out to give it a good drink! The forecast is calling for rain I am hopeful!

Some of my hosta is getting quite large. I plan on separating some of it when the season winds down and transplanting it to other areas! It's such a great filler! Hardy and pretty!

Our garage is quite old (built in the 40's) and isn't really a lovely building to behold...but we are thankful for it and try our best to keep it looking nice and tidy outside of it!

The sun filled days have made line drying the most economical choice for us lately! Such a gift to help save money in the summer! Plus, I am just so thankful for this porch my husband and our brother-in-love built. It is such a blessing! It is so enjoyable to sit out on it and spend time! The children spend a lot of time sitting out here playing games, drawing or writing!

I need to get supper started (we always eat later in the summer since there are many things to get done in an evening and Chris prefers to eat a little later and then rest after a work-filled day)...but just want to leave you with a couple more photos...

Here is Madelyn with a couple friends before they went to their homeschool co-op formal...Her friend Josiah asked if he could escort her to the dance. He asked permission from her father first. It was sweet! Although she isn't permitted to date or "go out" with anyone yet...we thought this would be just fine. He was a gentleman and opened the car door for her and everything. His parents have taught him to be a thoughtful young man...

Josiah's sister, Hannah, is one of Madelyn's best friends! She rode with them to the formal as well! They look forward to next year's formal when their *other* bestest buddy Renee can join them too and they can be their crazy trio!

I hope you found encouragement here today....and a bit of sweetness with the flowers around the house and innocence of young fun for the children! Thank you for visiting me here today and I pray your days ahead are joy-filled even through times of difficulty!


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Radical obedience to Christ is not easy...

...It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us."

“The modern-day gospel says, 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.' Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, 'You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, & in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.” 

~David Platt

I encourage you...even if you have read the above them again. (Watch David Platt on youtube...he has some great sermons to watch!) Chew on them a bit. Let their meaning sink deep and then if you don't already....get into God's Word *every*single*day*! So many Christians don't read their Bible daily. This is a tragedy. How can we know the God we love so much if we don't read His Word? We need Him. He is our only hope.

If you are not a believer but like to visit here...please realize your need for a Savior. We are all wicked and terribly imperfect next to a holy, just God. We are in rebellion against Him. But God...our good, loving, gracious Creator took on human form in His Son, Jesus Christ, and lead a perfect life in our place! He then sacrificed Himself to *pay* for our sins against God! He suffered, bled and died (although completely innocent) on a cross. We must repent of our sins and trust in Christ as our Savior. He is the *only* way to the Father. I encourage you to watch: Are You a Good Person? My greatest prayer is that you will come to know Christ as your Savior...and live a life of love and obedience to Him! our home...

Madelyn and Jaxson worked on making envelopes and custom wax seals...

I have kept busy with my housework and exercise...

Making rolls for supper (I believe these were for chipped steak sandwiches one evening)...

I have been taking full advantage of the glorious sunshine the Lord supplies!

...It's so wonderful to save money and put to good use the environment the Lord provides!

My hosta have been growing...quickly! They are just sprouting out everywhere...and growing daily! It's great!!!

Monday was our last day of homeschool co-op for the school year. We'll get to see everyone in a few months when the new school year it's only good-bye for a little while! We shared a nice picnic with friends (got some sun on my arms and face) and the children played with friends (as we were at a park where they could play ball, use playground equipment etc. There were children everywhere!!). The Lord has provided us with a beautiful day each year for that picnic...even if it was predicted to rain! We are always so grateful!

Chris likes to try out recipes from time to time. Madelyn and I are the main cooks in this household but Chris likes to make some new things too sometimes! He likes to watch Kent Rollins cook and ordered his recipe book...

He made sourdough starter from it...

...and he made these great sourdough "biscuits" that were kinda like dinner rolls. I don't normally eat much bread...but I tried one of these when it was warm and it was so good! :)

I've gotta go! Lots of things to accomplish today! I hope your week is going well and thanks, so much, for stopping by today!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"And the Spring arose on the garden fair...

...Like the Spirit of love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Complete Poems

We have been so busy enjoying and using this beautiful spring weather! I thought we may never make it through that long and tedious winter....but here we are ~ spring at last! The birds are singing, the sun is shining and smiles are abounding! It's so much easier to be cheerful when the weather is so delightful, don't you think? 

We've been washing siding (from mildew that can grow during those cold months), mowing the lawn (which grows so quickly!), hanging out loads and loads of clothes on the lines, and doing all of the normal housework! The children are finishing up their school year (they have their required days in but we are finishing up some lessons I want to get done with them). 

Madelyn has been working for Chris's parents, doing childcare at the Y, and babysitting infant twins and a toddler for a friend of mine! X works at my dad's garage a lot and helps Pa down at the meat market (he especially loves to mow on the tractor!). Jaxson just bought a digital camera (with his own money that he had saved) and has been trying out a lot of stop-animation with his Legos! It's so bittersweet to watch my children grow, mature and change! I sure miss them being little ~ but oh the joy in seeing how the Lord uses the gifts He has given them! 

Today is another beautiful day...the sun is shining and the temperature is so comfortable! I've already been to the gym for my daily workout and took Xavier to my dad's body shop/garage to work for the day. Laundry is out on the lines, dishes have been washed and I've been working at mowing the lawn. It seems so much easier to get tasks done when the sun is shining! :)

I'm looking forward to getting into the gardens. I know many people have things already planted...I haven't started yet though. I also can't wait until we can go to our favorite local greenhouse to get flowers to plant around the house! I'm afraid we could still have a frost so I hate to get all the flowers out too early!

 We will be working on projects on our home through the summer. The porch needs finished and Chris would like to work on/finish putting siding on the dormers of the house! We've been working at cleaning out and organizing our garage as well! What a great feeling it is to declutter and get things organized!

I've been continuing on my health/weightloss journey! I exercise daily (cardio as well as weight lifting) and track my food intake. I am lower in weight now than when I got married! I'm almost at the weight I was when I graduated high school! It feels good to be more fit! I have more energy and definitely feel more feminine! If you desire to lose weight....or just get more fit...I definitely recommend first watching what you eat! That's the most important part. It's *so* easy to consume more calories than you think you are!

Don't let exercise scare you! Don't be intimidated! Go out for a walk...pick up your pace and go further each time! Go to the gym and use the elliptical (it's much nicer on the joints)! Don't be intimated by anyone else that is there! You are there to get healthy ~ that's what is important! Try water aerobics if you have bad joints. Or take a class while you are there! Just get moving! Actually, I have found that friends at the gym are some of the most encouraging and supportive people when helping you reach your goals! :o)

You don't want to be vain or make your body an idol (so we shouldn't be obsessive about our appearance) ~ however, taking care of ourselves glorifies the Lord. Being a glutton does not honor God. It is so easy to be gluttonous, unfortunately. You have to take an active stand against it. You have to be conscious of what you eat and how much of it....just like we have to be careful and conscious of what we say and if our words honor the Lord. Everything we do comes from the heart. If you truly want to honor will make the effort to do so in every way (in eating, speaking, thinking, actions, etc).

I kind of went on a little longer on that than I expected....but I just want to encourage anyone out there who wants to get healthy but just feels stuck. I must admit to you...I feel prettier (even without make up)...because I just feel like I *look* healthier and when my husband looks at me ~ he makes me feel attractive! You don't have to be a certain weight to be attractive....that's not my point at all. There are so many people of so many sizes that are truly lovely. But I think one truly does just feel better overall when you feel fit and healthy! :) I have rambled on long enough. I have things to do so I really must go. Here are some photos from around the house lately that I thought I would like to share...

Last night was Taco Tuesday at our house! Madelyn and Jaxson especially *love* when we have a taco night!

In the kitchen as evening sets in....

 I hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring weather as well! I hope you find encouragement when you stop by here! It is my prayer that you are in God's Word daily and in constant prayer with Him. May He be the true source of all joy in your life. May all you do and say be to glorify Him!

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

~Psalm 62:5-8