Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Reason...





“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
 lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
 good will toward men.” Luke 2:11-14

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I received a Christmas card from a dear friend with the verses to this hymn.
Thought I would share it with you as you contemplate the Greatest Gift ever given!

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus:
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.

When the heav’ns arches shall ring,
 and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.                            by  Emily E.S. Elliott



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Eve



Christmas Eveby Christina Rossetti

Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven hath answring music
For all Angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sing!



As our family was singing Christmas carols tonight, I felt a stirring within my
heart thinking about the birth of the Savior!
It made me look into a little background info on one of the hymns we sang....

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia,
wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868,
following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired
by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially
at night time hence the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem.
His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the
melody to O Little Town of Bethlehem. Red­ner was
Brooks’ or­gan­ist at Ho­ly Trin­i­ty Epis­co­pal Church in
Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia. The tune came to him on
 Christ­mas Eve, and was first sung the next day.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the bless├Ęd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.


O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!


I hope that you have a song in your heart this Christmas season!

Can Christmas Be Done Without Debt???

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Truly it is! I love Christmas!
We get to celebrate the birth of the Savior!
But, somehow, the Lord Jesus (Who is the real gift!) gets overshadowed by stacks of presents. :(
Followed by stacks of bills in January...


But, it doesn't have to be that way. (Debt is a choice!)
 I just wanted to pass along a few holiday tips for you-to help you
stay debt free!
#1-KEEP CHRIST AS THE FOCUS OF CHRISTMAS!
A few ideas for doing this:
  • Read the Christmas Story
  • Set up a Nativity Scene (I had one especially for my kids when they were little also)
  • Bake goods for some lonely neighbors (esp. elderly or single parents)
  • Go caroling (either in your neighborhood or a nursing home-choose godly carols)
  • Sing carols around the house
  • Have kids do secret good deeds for family members (draw names)
  • Attend church (esp. the Nativity play and the Contada)
  • Make or buy Christmas cards with a spiritual message to send out
  • Use and light an advent wreath


#2 KEEP TO A BUDGET
A few ideas:
  • Have your plan in writing. Find out how much money you have to spend
  • Write down the names of who you need to buy for-allot amounts for each
  • Use a small expandable folder for your holiday money (think dollar store)
(Label each section with the person's name-and put the money for that person in it. Only take this with you when you shop-no credit cards. When the money is gone--you stop!) Oh-and put the receipts back in filed by person in case you have a return


#3 GIFT IDEAS
For Kids:
  • Play kits-choose a theme such as: Dress-Up, Doctor, Chef, Grocer, Workman etc... Then, go
"shopping" in your closets, garage, thrift store etc.. and round up accessories to make the kit. Depending on your theme, bandanas, jewelry, shoes, boa, painter's cap, tupperware etc...
Be creative! 
  • Books or books on CD (check amazon.com or auctions as well as the store)
  • Piggy Bank (put a few dollars in to start them out)
  • Homemade Play Dough and cookie cutters
  • Puzzles
  • Crochet Kit
  • Christmas Tree ornament you make or buy (help them start a collection)

For Teens:
  • Movie Tickets
  • Picture Frame (perhaps filled with a photo you took of the recipient)
  • Cell Phone Minutes
  • Devotional
  • Book
  • Journal and pen
  • Scrapbook supplies
  • Board Game
  • Calendar
For Adults or a Family:
  • Popcorn Bucket filled with movie and candy
  • Coupon for Babysitting or Petsitting
  • Magazine Subscription
  • Basket with pancake mix, syrup (or brownies, muffins etc...)
  • Make a Gift in a Jar (instructions are easily found online)
  • Make a photobook, calendar, or collage with meaningful pics
  • Book (or a basket full of books from a thrift store)
  • Gas Gift Card
  • Photo Album
  • Homemade Cookies or other Baked Goods (best gift ever!)


#4 DECORATING IDEAS
  • One of the prettiest and inexpensive items I use for decorating is napkins!
I find red, green, or gold and use them on end tables, under decorations, at the dinner table etc...
  • Use your own tree branches (lovely with glitter!) or pine/holly branches
  • Dress up dinner napkins with a ribbon tied in a bow and holly or bells
  • Have the children make place cards with a Bible verse
  • Use Christmas colors in your food -as decorations!
Such as red cherry tomatoes and green broccoli on your veggie plate
  • I buy floral bunches at the Dollar Store and cut them up and tuck the flowers on picture frames, mirrors, etc...
  • USE WHAT YOU HAVE! If you have red balls of yarn-place them in a basket on a table
  • Fill a green mug with candy canes tied with curling ribbon in red and/or green
  • I use lots of pinecones (we have pine trees) they look great in baskets-and you can glitter them too!
  • Candles always warm up the room (Walmart has great inexpensive candles in holiday scents)

PLAN AHEAD FOR NEXT YEAR!
Start in January-looking for ways all year to save up cash for Christmas...
  • Start a Christmas fund in a Mason Jar with your spare change
  • Put aside all the money you save with coupons
  • Put $5 or $10 a week in your Expandable Coupon file
  • Use the money you get back for Rebates
  • Pay yourself when you resist an impulse buy
  • Use food from your pantry and freezer -put the money you would have spent on groceries
in your Christmas Fund


A great resource is the book Debt-Proof Your Christmas by Mary Hunt
You can get lots of ideas there.

I hope that you and yours have a lovely, debt-free, Christ-centered Christmas!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Wise Words on Helping a Friend Facing a Trial

I received this devotion from my sweet friend Vicki Ponce (she sends this daily to my mailbox!). The sage advice in this devotion is a "must share"...

I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? Job 16:2-3
Have you ever had a friend go through a hard time and you didn’t know how to comfort them? We might quote Romans 8:28, thinking that it will make them feel better, knowing that God will make this horrible situation out for his good. We can’t stomach not having words to say to someone who is hurting or confused. We want to try to explain why their situation is happening or give them words of comfort. We might even call them daily to see if their situation is improving. Job’s friends were the same way. The majority of the book of Job consists of his friends explaining to him why his children have died, his livestock are all gone, and he has sores all over his body. We would generally agree with most of the reasons his friends give for his hurting. But, they aren’t the reasons Job has actually encountered these hardships! Their words of comfort were really words of discomfort. Sometimes God will use us to give a Biblical answer to the suffering a person is enduring, but there will still be instances when we have no idea what to say. Instead of spouting off religiously oriented phrases in these situations, we should listen, listen, and listen some more. 
Dear Lord:  Please put the right words in my mouth so that in their discomfort they can find some comfort from YOU.  And Lord, help me to listen first to who is struggling and then listen to you for the response, if there even is one.  AMEN

--
«:*´`³¤³´`*:»§«+†+»§«:*´`³¤³´`*:»

May God Bless you and Keep you, In His Service, Vicki
*********************************************************************************
Many of you know that I have had recent difficult trials of my own. I can tell you from my experience that Vicki's words are true. I have learned what is not helpful for sure....preaching at a person who is hurting (no matter how good your intentions) is not helpful, nor is telling them how they ought to be dealing with their trial. You not only don't fully know what they are going through-you don't know what they have gone through prior to this either.
But, the ones who listen to you, and who gently remind you that you are on their heart and mind, and they are praying--that is soothing to the soul and a blessing. I want to be that kind of a friend.
Thank you so much Vicki-a lady who has had many, many trials of her own-for this wonderful devotion. I pray God uses this in our lives as we try to bless and minister to our friends who face trials of their own.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day...hope you did too!
I had been feeling quite ill all the way to Wednesday, and was very thankful
that I felt much better on Thursday so that I could prepare the meal!

My mom, Bri and I all work together to make the meal, both separately (the day before),
and corporately the day of.  We work well together and things turned out great!

Afterward we played some carpetball (my mom was beating everyone!)

It was a blessing that my nephew drove several hours to come - he entertained us with
lots of stories! :)

Three generations played some foos ball

I am most thankful for time spent with family...it's priceless!
I thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on us once again this year.

IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH:
Psalm 92:1


Friday, November 16, 2012

May I Have a Thankful Heart


MAY I HAVE A THANKFUL HEART

It's so easy to be thankful
When our barns are brimming o'er,
When earth's harvest fills our table,
Doting friends knock at our door.

It's so easy to be thankful
When our way is bright and fair,
When we walk in perfect wholeness,
And we have enough to spare.

But what about the barren times
When thick darkness clouds our day;
Do we offer God thanksgiving
For the trials that come our way?

For our earthly tribulations
Are a blessing from God's hand,
For there are lessons to be learned
That adversities demand.

So may I have a thankful heart,
One that's full of grateful praise.
May I recognize God's blessings
Come disguised in diffrent ways.

Writtten by:  Linda J. Stevenson


This was sent to me by my dear friend Marie.
I have been facebooking daily about my blessings this November,
and I thought this was just a beautiful reminder about
gratitude and thankfulness.
Hope it blesses you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Soldiers in the Battle

           

Our family listened to a wonderful message on Sunday by Dr. Scott Pauley about Enduring Hardness         

In that wonderful message was this poem, a wonderful reminder that we Christians are indeed in a battle daily, and that we are Soldiers in the army of GOD.

                      I am a Soldier


 
Cindye Coates

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior, of the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
Faith, Prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience,
tried by adversity, and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will either retire in this army at the Rapture or die in this Army;
but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out.
I am faithful, capable, and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior.   I am not a baby.
I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up.

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior.
No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.

I am a solider, a prayer warrior.  I am not a wimp.
I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name
and building His Kingdom!

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior.
No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.

I am committed.
I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Choosing Thankfulness


I've learned a lot of lessons over the last year of my illness.
But, one of the biggest things I learned about myself, is that I lacked thankfulness!
Another thing I learned, is that I really do have a lot to be thankful FOR!

Not only that, but, I also learned that thankfulness to God is a command--and, a choice.
So now, I purposely try to choose to be thankful daily.

I started keeping a thankfulness journal last year, and now I'm up to over 1300 thankfulness entries!
When I feel down, I can pick that journal up, and have a tangible reminder of all the blessings that
God has bestowed on me. :)

November is such a wonderul month--kind of dedicated to thanksgiving.
I hope it's a wonderful time of reflection for us all as we consider the blessing God has poured forth on us!

There's always something to be thankful to God for!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are You Bored?

Someone sent me an email with the title Are You Bored?
And, it reminded me of when my kids were young...and they said that they were "bored". :)
Well, they found out quickly that you weren't allowed to say that in our home.
We should never be bored!

My remedy?
I made up a list of Productive Activities and posted it on the frig.
If all of their school work and chores were done, they could choose something off of
this list to do.
If they didn't do this--and slipped and said that they were bored--they got a really crummy job to do instead. I had a list for those also for me to choose from. :)
Like...cleaning the grout with a toothbrush :)

Some ideas from the list:
  • Write/make a card for a grandparent
  • Read a book
  • Gardening
  • Memory Verse
  • Play with Legos or Lincoln Logs
  • Walk the Dog
  • Play the Piano
I had quite a few items on the list, so that there should be plenty to choose from even over a period of time.
It solved our problem, and helped them to develop a good habit of using their time wisely.

I try to apply this to myself too. I try to have plenty of things "waiting in the wings" for me to do, so that I never feel bored.
Hope this inspires you today to find some new, creative things to use your time.

Sunday, October 21, 2012








CHECKLIST FOR ENCOURAGERS

The command to “encourage” others is found throughout the Bible. In I Thessalonians chapter 5 Paul gives many specific examples of how we can encourage others.

I Thessalonians 5:11

Build each other up.

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
Christians are to encourage one another. A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can be the difference between, finishing well and collapsing along the way. Look around you. Be sensitive to others’ need for encouragement, and offer supportive words or actions.
I Thessalonians 5:12

Respect leaders.

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.”
Look for ways to encourage and cooperate with your pastor.
I Thessalonians 5:13a

Hold leaders in highest regard.

“And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, and be at peace among yourselves.”
Express your appreciation, tell them how you have been helped by their leadership and teaching, and thank them for their ministry in your life. If you say nothing, how will they know where you stand? Remember, they need and deserve your support and love.
I Thessalonians 5:13b

Live in Peace

Search for ways to get along with others.
I Thessalonians 5:14

Encourage the timid

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”
Encourage those who are timid by reminding them of God’s promises.

Help the weak

Support those who are weak by supporting them and praying for them
.
Be patient

Think of a situation that tries your patience and plan ahead of time how you can stay calm.

I Thessalonians 5:15

Resist revenge

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.”
Instead of planning to get even with those who mistreat you, do good to them.

Be joyful

I Thessalonians 5:16

“Rejoice evermore.”

When we do God’s will we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful. Remembering that even in the midst of turmoil, God is in control.

Pray continually

I Thessalonians 5:17

“Pray without ceasing.”

We cannot spend all our time on our knees, but it is possible to have a prayerful attitude at all times. This attitude is built upon acknowledging our dependence on God, realizing His presence within us, and determining to obey Him fully. Then we will find it natural to pray frequent, spontaneous, short prayers. A prayerful attitude is not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be an outgrowth of those times.

Give thanks

I Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in everything. Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank Him for it. But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that He will accomplish through the situation.
Make a list of all the gifts God has given you, giving thanks to God for each one.

Count on God’s constant help
I Thessalonians 5:23

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Realize that Christian life is to be lived not in our own strength but through God’s power.

I pray that I can be an encouragment to others!

This was sent to me by my sweet and dear friend Marie. (This could have been written about her!) Thanks Marie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beach Road Trip!

Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a few days with my mom down at the beach. We both just love the beach, and were so happy to go!
The hotel mom booked was at the end of the Rehoboth boardwalk. It was great, we
could walk right out of the hotel and right on the boardwalk!
Below is the view from our balcony. We left the patio doors open at night
and slept to the sound of the surf!

Below is a pic of the hotel from the beach.

We found this great restaurant - "Big Fish" that caters to
gluten-free diners. Yum!



It rained the first couple of days we were there, but, we didn't let that stop us!
We went around to all the thrift stores in the area and shopped--fun!

Our last day was gorgeous-here is my mom sitting on the beach just relaxing.



Not a lot of people on the beach, but the seagulls kept us company :)


If you look closely at the pic below, you can see on the left a dark spot--a dolphin!
There were lots of them swimming back and forth for hours--we loved it!


I treasure the sweet memories I made there with my mom.
Time is fleeting and short, and you never know what tomorrow holds.
I'm glad we had our "get away"--just laughing, shopping, playing cards...
it was a precious and special time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Lot Can Happen In a Year...


On this day last year, I had the blood test that revealed that I was very, very sick.
It has been a challenging year, frought with physical illness, financial stress, emotional distress, and 
lots of adjustments.
(And did I mention surgery, CT scan, MRI, countless blood draws, iv's, bone marrow test, colonoscopies, endoscopy and too many dr appointments and specialists to count!?)

However, it has also been a learning time.
A time full of surrender, reflection, prayer, quiet time,
contemplation, and relinquishment.

I have seen that God can take something bad, and make something good out of it.
That our lives are full of His purpose, and plan.
That He doesn't have to explain everything to us--He doesn't need for us to
understand, nor does He need our permission.
He is GOD.

I learned how much I don't know.  That there is much for me to learn.
I have also learned that I am a much weaker  person than I thought I was--we all are.
And that I need God for every single thing--including my next breath.

I have also learned that each day of life is a gift.
This has been a struggle at times-as I often have "down days".
But it is still true!

Every minute needs to be enjoyed and savored.
I no longer take laughter, breezes, rain drops, the smell of cut grass, and
lots of other things for granted.

Am I better?
Well, physically I'm a lot better than I was...
And for that, I am thankful!
Spiritually, well,  I have a long way to go yet. :)

I don't know what the future holds,
but I do know Who holds my future.

Thank you Lord for another day!
Enjoy yours too :)

“Boast not thyself of to morrow;
for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Silver Celebration!

This is a big week for us--yesterday was my birthday...and today my honey and I celebrate our...
25th Wedding Anniversary!

What a short time ago this seems to have been!

\
God has blessed us with a wonderful family through this marriage!

We have had so many good times and made so happy memories that make up our love story!
We've endured hardships and difficulties too--but, together!
God has been good to us beyond measure--I am so thankful!

Happy 25th Anniversary Dear--looking forward to the ones to come!
I love you!