Monday, January 26, 2015

New Year, New Word

Happy New Year!!  At the beginning of each year I like to share a blog post filled with newness and expectation for the year ahead of us. I've actually been mulling this post over in my mind before it finally got formulated enough to come together!!  I know January is almost over, but here is my "New Year's" post!

Over the past few years, I've heard more about people beginning a new year by giving a name to it.  A name that reflects what they might want to see, do or become. A name to remember and ingrain in their head, hearts and bring out through actions.  Some of the ones I've heard are...Generous, Hope, Strength, Grace.  Last year mine was "Humility" and through the year I set out with purpose to give God and others preeminence in my life.  (It was no easy task and I've certainly not 'completed" this!!)  It was a year of fighting flesh, struggling between my own desires and another's needs, but God did a major work in my heart through it all.

Before the new year, a familiar verse ignited a spark in my heart for a word for the year.  Psalms 34 1-2 
"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together."  When we humble ourselves, He becomes greater.  If, instead of looking inward to our accomplishments we begin to look at Him and His greatness, He is MAGNIFIED. When our focus changes to the Lord, when we read His Word and are reminded of His power, His awesomeness, His love, He becomes larger in our lives.  When He is MAGNIFIED, everything else pales in comparison.   

Yes, my word for the year is MAGNIFY!  But the year long journey is to set my mind on magnifying Him and recognizing in every way - He is greater.  There is nothing that can compare to God.  He is Creator of all and He watches and sustains everything.  No one is above Him and nothing is impossible with Him.  This is the word I want to meditate on, remember daily and pass along through the year - Hie is MAGNIFIED over and above every situation I may face. Nothing will ever be too hard for Him, there is nothing He doesn't know about or see and nothing He cannot do. My mind has trouble wrapping itself around His greatness, but my purpose is this year is not to try to understand God's ways, but simply lift Him up.

Will you help me?  "Oh magnify the Lord with me. And let us exalt His name together."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sticky Notes for the Soul

December has arrived and is almost halfway gone in the blink of the eye!  This blog has a new Christmas look, our home is decorated and we are excitedly anticipating Christmas!

But, in the preparations it can be easy to lose sight of the true Gift and joy of this time of the year.  In the beginning of December, I found Sticky Notes for the for every day of December.  These powerful reminders lift my eyes and heart above all the distractions and busyness to celebrate, rejoice in and trust in the gifts which never lose their power, Christ's love, peace, joy and grace!

Today's Sticky Note is...
"I will trust that everything happening around me today, every day, is happening to make miracles. Every little thing is going to be okay, because God is working good through every little thing.  There is never a night, never a darkness when gifts and miracles and joy aren't coming - coming right to me."

Will reading that each day in December not turn our focus to where it needs to be???!!!

Here is the link to the free download, be encouraged to print it off and read it each day, be encouraged to share and be a blessing as we display in our lives and actions - Jesus, the greatest Gift.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Like a Tree

Don't groan if you are not one of these types, but I love mornings!  They are my most productive time of the day.  Today was our coldest morning of the year so far, and after thanking the Lord for somewhere to stay warm, I embraced the day - got in a cup of coffee, Bible study, a quick workout, load of laundry done, supper planned then headed out the door.

A local Christian radio station is hosted by a couple who bring a positive and encouraging word on the drive to town. This morning the conversation revolved around trees and some differences in trees.

All year long, we see evergreen trees, they remain the same, they continue to be steadfast living, growing and keeping the same color.

The type of tree we notice most during this time of the year are Deciduous Trees. These are the trees that produce the gorgeous, breathtaking color in their leaves before the die back for the winter. 
Trees are all living and serve a valuable purpose.  One of the noticeable differences is the leaves and the color.  

Some Christians can be paralleled like trees. Each is different, but needs the same things to grow in Christ. "Evergreen Christians" are stately, beautiful, steady, consistent, dependable and durable.  For years, I have been what could be considered 'an evergreen'.  Disciplined in growing in the Lord, faithful to church ministries, dependable etc.

But there is something spectacular about the deciduous trees, something that captures your eye and causes you to long to linger and absorb their beauty.  Have you ever known a Christian like that?  They are someone so vibrant, so alive that you take a deeper look at their life to see what brings out this beauty?  

It is interesting that when the deciduous trees are in the most splendor is when they are actually dying.  Their season of glory quickly fades and after a rest during winter, they come alive again and share beauty as they grow, thrive and blossom.

As Christians, the qualities of an evergreen surely need to be in place.  We must have a firm foundation in the Lord and seek daily to live, love and grow in Christ. But, to be a thriving Christian, we must change seasons sometimes.  We undergo growth, trials, sadness, joy and changes.  The beauty comes during those seasons and reflect where our faith comes from - in God.  These Christians do more than survive, they thrive!

There is a beautiful contemporary song out called "Thrive".  This morning after the radio show's talk about trees, this song came on.  What a beautiful compliment to what was going through my mind and heart.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died

Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It's time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

My heart is encouraged today to do more than survive, but to truly thrive, to know Him more and to make Him know.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting the Yuckies Out

Every year around the time the first cold snap comes, usually someone in the family comes home with that dreaded comment..."my throat is getting a little sore".  Which usually means some sort of sickness is beginning and 'the yuckies" have come into our home.

 In my early years as a mom, these comments would come and I would just sit back and wait for the inevitable to come...more sickness, sleepless nights, usually a doctor visit and a week worth of sickness misery.  Through the years I've learned a few things that help out when the yuckies come.  Rest, fluids and comfort. 

Recently I've become interested in learning and applying natural remedies when the yuckies come.  Through some research, I've learned that many household items can boost immunity and help ward off sickness as they assist the body to fight and work toward healing.

One of our favourite remedies to get the yuckies to move on out it garlic.   Garlic is a triple threat against infections, offering antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.  Boiling garlic in water to make 'garlic tea' and chopping it fresh and mixing it into butter are our favourite ways to get the healing properties of garlic into our bodies.

Here are the ingredients...fresh chopped garlic, fresh ginger root, lots of sliced lemon and cayenne pepper.  Boil the garlic and ginger for about 10 minutes, add lemon and let steep.  Put into mug and add honey to taste and as much cayenne pepper as tolerated. 

Also, garlic butter is easy and delicious way to get that garlic in.  Simply soften butter, grate garlic into it, add some seasoning, I used parsley and Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of coconut oil.  Mix it up and spread it on crackers or bread. 

This weekend after that initial complaint of a scratchy throat, quickly getting our home remedies in us worked!  No more sore throat, no more waiting for the yuckies to ruin our week! 

Sometimes some spiritual yuckies try to invade our hearts and homes.  Bad attitudes, fear, dismay, anger can begin small and if left unchecked, can create a spiritual sickness that can cause lots of damage.  I've also learned through the years not to sit by and let these things invade our home.  God's Word is the most powerful line of defense to ward of these kind of yuckies. Some of my favorite verses to pray out loud are found in Psalms.

"Our soul waits on the Lord, He is our help and our shield." Psalms 33:20
"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance." Psalms 32:7
:But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble." Psalms 37:39
"Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord."  Psalms 31:24

Trusting in and believing God's Word nourishes our soul, brings us strength to fight off things meant to harm us and keeps us strong.  A daily dose builds up our spiritual immunity and keeps us on guard.  Let's be encouraged to keep those yuckies out of our heart, homes and bodies!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family, Fun and Gratitude

The month of November is a perfect time to stop and reflect on our blessings.  Every year, when November rolls around, I get geared up to make a 'thankful list', deliberately choose to count my  blessings, make a gratitude journal etc.  

Then....December comes and slowly the rush of Christmas preparations can push aside that attitude of gratitude.  This year, my focus is not just to 'do gratitude', but to 'live out gratitude'.  

Gratitude isn't simply being thankful, it goes beyond the blessings, to recognize the hope that we have in the Lord. It is what give us hope and help in the hard times.  It is a steadfast heart that looks to God who alone brings all things together for our good. 

One of many people's richest blessings is family.  Once marriage occurs, we gain family, grow, stretch and learn to love differently.  Family love stretches our hearts and lives.  I've been blessed with an incredible and loving family and married into a larger but just as wonderful family.  This weekend many of us ladies gathered together to celebrate an upcoming wedding. A house full of ladies with one purpose - to celebrate and fellowship made for a cherished memory. With one bride-to-be, there were many different sides of family represented, some local, from some from long distances,  those we see often, those we haven't seen for years, some we've never met!!  But what a great time it was and of course a photo opportunity that couldn't be ignored!!  

This is my 'thankful post' this week...thankful for all family, but especially for this ladies day!!

Beautiful Ladies - aunts and nieces!

The girls selfie!!

The other side!!

Some of my nieces and I

Sisters in heart, bonded by family!!