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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!!


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Hum of Home



Have you ever listened to the noises that come from your home?  When our home had 3 sons living in it, things could get pretty noisy!  Wrestling, bouncing balls, video games, television sports and the occasional competitive 'discussion' were what was heard most of all day, every day!

Now that 2 of the sons have left the nest, things are much quieter.  I was recently outside watering flowers and heard a humming sound.  Realizing it was the sound of the dryer, I smiled, never paying much attention to quiet hums of the home before!

There is something comforting about some of the hums of home.  The washer and dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, mixer etc.  All these sounds represent a method of 'making a home'.  Most are tools we use to care for the family.  Every home 'hums', whether it is a house full, an empty nest couple or a single living alone. 

Home-hums bring comfort and warmth and can be carried with us where we go.  A home cooked meal for lunch (or packed for hubby's lunch) get noticed with favor at the work place. Sharing our favorite recipe at a pot luck dinner, brings some of our home out to be a blessing.  A dinner for someone who just needs to know someone cares brings a beautiful piece of home and love. Cards, letters or postcards extend love from our home. Putting them in a zip lock bag with a drop of essential oil on a cotton ball gives a beautiful fragrance they will notice. 

Whatever season of life you and your home are in, be encouraged to make your home hum and share the beautiful sound with those around you!

Here is a slow cooker recipe that will warm the body and soul this fall season.

 

Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup

Ingredients: 

1 30oz. bag of frozen diced hash browns
1 32 oz box of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz)
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz, not fat free)
3 oz bacon bits 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Put the potatoes in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. 
Cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender. 
An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Place the cubes in the crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving. 
Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it's ready to serve. 
Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Marriage Monday - What's In It For Me?



We're talking about marriage...'what's in it for me?"  As women, when we are looking for a mate, our thoughts might revolve around finding Mr. Right and how he will treat us.  We need love, security, protection and attention.
 
But, any woman who has been a wife for a little while will quickly realize...it's not about you!!  Although marriage is a give and take between two people, it is a lifelong pursuit to understand that marriage is about the one you married.
 
A recent article which has been floating around Facebook, shared some of the best marriage advice for those considering marriage. This comes from a father to his son.  ..." I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
 
No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”
 
We can all glean from this advice, those married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.
And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.
 
Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others, to be a blessing and leave a legacy in your home and sphere of influence.