Friday, December 15, 2017

forty-one


In honor of turning forty-one years young today, I thought I'd share forty-one things I am most grateful for and some things I absolutely love.

1.  Jesus, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Faithful Friend, my Hope and Salvation, my Strength, and the Song I always sing.  He is my everything, and it is only because of His redeeming love that I am who I am today.  The only thing good in me is Him, so while I thank you for the kind words, let it be known that it is all because of Jesus and how He changed me.  (He can do that for you too, if He did it for me.  I would love to tell you how, so reach out, if you have questions.)

2.  My wonderful, loving, sometimes makes-me-crazy (and then gets away with it) husband and best friend, the father of my kids.  Toddley, your card was as precious as you are, and it was MUCH better than a store bought one, you were right.

3.  My awesome teenage sons.  Graham, Drew, Jonah, Noah~I love you all, if you read this, which I doubt, but let it be said anyway.

4.  My family.  I am the youngest in my family, and the second youngest in Todd's, and the Lord has been so gracious to give us such loving family members.  We are not perfect, I assure you, and sometimes we all bicker or hold grudges over the dumbest things, but through it all, we always love each other.  I feel so blessed, so fortunate, that we are so close to all of our family members.  I know most people cannot say that, and I pray that I never take any of them for granted. 

5.  I know I said my family, but I have to also say something about our parents.  Just two days ago, while I was walking out of Kroger, the dear man ringing the Salvation Army bell asked me about our families, and I told him that we always stay home for Christmas, that we are from here, and our parents all live here.  I was struck again at how thankful I am for that.  I've never known what it's like to live away from them, and I cannot imagine how hard it must be living far away, like my sisters in Colorado.  Todd and I were supposed to have moved to Huntsville, Alabama when we got married, to start up a branch of the company there, but it was God's provision that He allowed us to stay here.  We are so close to our parents, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

6.  Friendship.  I have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of love this week, and I am pretty sure that my best friends are better friends to me than I am to them.  I know none of them keep record, but wow.  I need to step up my game.

7.  My church family.  We've been part of two really great churches in our married lives, and I am thankful for both of them.  One will always be like family to us, and the other is the one that the Lord put us within, and I am thankful.  We have made so many beautiful relationships while being at both. 

8.  Being part of the music ministry.  I love being a choir girl, I always have and always will.  Last night our worship pastor gave an appreciation dinner for the music and technical ministries, and I was so sad that I had to miss.  I started getting sick yesterday afternoon and was forced to stay home last night. 

9.  I am also so proud of my husband, for being awarded as volunteer of the year 2017 in these areas.  And grateful that our worship pastor recognized him in such a special way.  Todd works his tail off several times a year helping out the technical director, and it's voluntarily that he does this.  This is along with his regular job and working with the sheriff's department.  My husband is the opposite of lazy, and I am thankful for the way God made him.

10.  (I better speed this along, or I'll never finish.)  I love that I am able to stay at home and that we homeschool.  I've worked all of my married life, until we started homeschooling, and Todd would move heaven and earth to make sure that it could happen that way.  I love my "job" and that I get to experience up close and personal, all the teenage years my kids have gone through.

11.  Homeschooling.  I love the flexibility, I love the schedule we have, that we can travel whenever, that we are able to keep our own pace and that they can start and finish when they choose, depending on the amount of work they do.  It's different for all of them, but that's okay.  (Jonah finished school for the year yesterday and Noah and Drew will finish today.)

12.  The simple things, like reading and watching favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu.  Especially reading.

13.  CHRISTMAS.  No other explanations are needed.

14.  Special days out, like the one my mom and I are about to have today.

15.  Our pets.  I never knew I would love dogs so much, but thanks to Todd, I do.  He really wanted the boys to grow up with dogs, and if he hadn't pushed this with me, it wouldn't have happened.  Andy was my first perfect angel dog, and now there are Crash, Callie, and Chip, our newest little guy.  Chip was like an early Christmas present to me, I love him so much! 

16.  The memories having dogs gives us.  Just today on my Timehop app, I was reminded of the day four years ago today, that Andy the Wonder Dog ate all my birthday cards.  Maybe to him that was his strange way of giving me a gift, that gift being laughter. 

17.  Small things, like getting my nails done every couple of weeks and getting my hair done.  I don't often get my hair done, but about four times a year, I splurge.  I'm hoping to splurge again soon.  :)  Turning forty was what did that to me, by the way.  I had never done either so frequently in all of my life, until last year.

18.  The word of God.  This should have been closer to the top, but the Lord knows my heart on this.  I love to read, study, learn, write, and memorize the word of God. 

19.  Social media.  I use mine in a good way, and I've made lots of connections on there that I wouldn't have made, otherwise.  I use my accounts to inspire and to be inspired in my daily walk with Jesus.

20.  Good coffee.  We are coffee snobs, and we love our good, expensive coffee.  It's not really that expensive, but it is not Folger's or Maxwell House.  We buy the good stuff and grind our own beans. 

21.  The beautiful home the Lord has provided us with.  It's not perfect, but it's perfect for us.  We have leaky pipes, and "memories" all over the walls, furniture, and missing railings, but I love this home we've lived in for the last fourteen years.  (November of 2003 was our move in date.)

22.  Dependable cars.  We have had a rough few years with cars that we've had, but praise the Lord, that both Todd and myself now have good, dependable vehicles to drive.  Drew's is getting there, and Graham is about to buy a new (to him) one for himself. 

23.  Cold weather.  I have asthma, and the only time I can breathe really well is when it's cold outside.  Praise the Lord, He has made it cold again!  Also, it's just a personal preference of mine.

24.  Good health. 

25.  Kind words.  This is the time of year that it's most prevalent around me, and it's just one more reason why I love this beautiful season we are in.

26.  Quiet, early mornings, when it's just me, Jesus, and the dogs.

27.  Also, going to bed at nine o'clock.  Because I wake up so early, I go to bed early.  I never just go to bed, though.  I read, or watch a show on Netflix.  Usually, Gilmore Girls.

28.  Fluff news.  Anyone else love good reports?  There is too much of the negative junk.

29.  (It is now Friday.  I took too long to write, so I had to stop yesterday.)  I picked out some new bedding yesterday, using some birthday money.  It looks so pretty in our room!  We're about to have our room, our bathroom, and the bonus room painted.  Todd and I are doing that for each other for our birthdays and for Christmas.

30.  Pretty things.  I love making things pretty.

31.  I also love when things are neat and orderly.  Have you ever heard you can tell a lot about a person by the condition of their car?  Well, for a while, I was sharing mine with Graham and Drew, and it drove me bonkers that they wouldn't clean it out after they drove it.  I like to keep it neat and tidy.  And clean.  Clean is always good.

32.  Instagram stories and podcasts.  I follow some really cool people on Instagram, and one of my latest favorites is a gal named Jamie Golden.  She's on the Popcast. 

33.  Finding new authors.  I am always looking for more people to read, and I struck gold this week, with one of the books I got from the library.

34.  THE LIBRARY.  It makes me so happy.

35.  Twinkle lights.  I keep mine on our mantle all year long, because I love them.  I believe if you love it, you should decorate with it.  If not, get rid of it.

36.  Do you know that I love to fold clothes?  I do.  I have never minded doing laundry.

37.  Candles.  I love candles, and I always burn them completely.  My newest favorite scent is pine anything and everything.  I got a new Yankee candle yesterday that is scented pine. 

38.  Fridays with my dad.  We have done this for a solid twelve years now, almost every single Friday.

39.  Traditions.  I love time with family, and I was reminded of it again last night as I sat around a table with my loves. 

40.  Decluttering the notifications on my phone.  I like things empty.  (Messages, inboxes, and such.)

41.  This blog, and the connections I've made through it.  I've been writing here for about eleven years, and I have new friends who I am always in contact with, thanks to this lovely little slice of internet. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

mid-week stuff

Happy Wednesday!  This week is going by really quickly, as I knew it would...it always seems to go that way, this week of my birthday.  I turn forty-one tomorrow!  I love having a December birthday, but I will say that it's a tiny bit crazy having an additional thing to add to the list of things for this month. 

I've been celebrating all week.  :)  I wish there were emojis for the blog. 

On Monday, my dear, dear friend Christa took me out to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.  There is this little hole in the wall place here in The Ville, and I cannot get over their salsa and their tortilla soup.  I had both.  We also shared the fajita nachos.  It was delicious and we ended the night with Starbucks.  We wanted to take a picture to document, and I took us to the town square so Christmas lights could be in the background. 


Because it's magical.  We both love Christmas so much, and it was a perfect night. 


Also, how adorable?  This is a little log cabin on the square and they outline it completely with Christmas lights.  I love Christmas in our little town!  I know I've said that about a million times, but I'll keep saying it again and again.


Yesterday I caught up in my quiet time reading, and I loved what I read in the verses in the scripture writing plan.  I love the thought that Jesus is our High Priest, and that He is in heaven, interceding on our behalf to God our Father. 

That reminds me of the times when I'm simply too overwhelmed to pray, or when I am shocked by something and I don't know what to say.  Sometimes, I just say, "Jesus, Jesus!" over and over again.  And not in the way that takes His name in vain, either.  (I HATE IT when people say His name in vain.  It literally makes my skin crawl.)  When I say His name in this way, it's because it's all I know to say.  I think that in those times, that is when He takes over and does this interceding for us.  I'm no bible scholar, those are just my thoughts and ponderings.


This puppy is still waking me up early in the morning for me to let him out, and then to cuddle him.  He is such a baby!  It's a good thing he's cute.  I do love him, and I don't hate that time with him early in the mornings.  He only makes me lose my mind every few days, and then he spends time in his kennel for a breather.


I went to my happy place yesterday and got some library books!  I go in spurts where I read all the time, and super fast, like when we were at the beach back in September, but then I won't read for weeks or months at a time.  I'm trying to read more again, so I went and borrowed about five books yesterday that were all Christmas themed, and I finished this one this morning.  It was so good!  It's my first Nancy Thayer book to read, and I think I will read more by her. 

My friend Andrea got me a really cute journal for my birthday, and I decided that this year I'll keep a journal of all that I read or of books I want to read.  I started it Monday, and I plan on doing a month by month type list on the pages.  I've never journaled about books before, but this is something I was inspired to do after hearing Modern Mrs. Darcy (Anne Bogel) talk about this on her blog.


Here's a new book I started this morning, and the cute journal Andrea picked out for me. 

Also, I love  this Christmas arrangement my mom made and insisted I keep. 

Today I am having lunch with my bestie, and we are going to one of my most favorite places of all time, but I'll write more about that on Friday, perhaps.  I can't wait! 

I feel so honored that my friends bless me in such meaningful and thoughtful ways, and I have thanked the good Lord over and over for them all this week as I've been getting dressed to leave.  Tonight we are eating dinner at our church, for our annual music and tech department appreciation dinner out worship pastor gives us each year.  I love that I don't have to cook and that there will be entertainment. 

It's yet another birthday week celebration because I don't have to cook or think about anything, all I have to do is show up.  Well, laundry is calling my name, so I better run.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and friends, for this blog post. 

We've had a great week around these parts, one that has been both busy and more fun.  Busy, because of life in general, and the month of December.  I love this month mostly, but I try to be careful about what I say yes to.  I don't love the busyness that comes from all the holiday functions.  This week has been fun, because it seems like we have laughed a ton.  We've had TWO great nights of dinner around the table together as a family this week, and with the boys getting older, and those nights becoming more few and far between, I treasure the little moments like we've had this week.


My favorite thing on social media right now is the #mycozywinterhome hashtag and posts I am seeing all over Instagram.  This was my post on Sunday, when the theme for that day was minimal.  This "purse" (it's really a clutch) is my newest favorite thing.  I bought it back in October, and I have enjoyed carrying it everywhere.  I don't like to change purses, I pretty much buy one and I carry it indefinitely.  I've recently switched to clutches, though, because I am over heavy purses.  My kids are not young anymore, and I no longer have to carry all the stuff.  When they were younger, I did. 


Also on Sunday, this night at church happened.  It was the Christmas version of a praise and worship night with the choir and orchestra.  The stage looks amazing!  My husband and his friends on the tech team worked their tails off all last week and were there every night until one and two in the morning.  This night is always one of my favorite nights at church, and this one was no different.  It was a phenomenal night of lifting high the name of Jesus. 


Also on Sunday, we said these verses as our dismissal that morning.  I created this image on YouVersion and I am memorizing them.  Finding good verses to memorize and pray is one of my favorite things.


On Tuesday, these verses were my favorite, on God being our Comforter.  As my December quiet time, I am going through (slowly) the verses printed out in my scripture writing.  The theme is Names of God, and I am taking my sweet time.  I had something else planned for quiet time this month, but you can scroll down to the next post to read about it, instead of me repeating it on this post. 

My tablecloth is also my favorite right now, and this one is on the kitchen table.  I bought it off of Amazon, I think just by searching Christmas plaid tablecloths.  The black and white flannel buffalo print one was moved to the dining room table, since it's for a round table.  I needed a large rectangle one for the kitchen table.


Every single morning.  Every single night.  Puppy cuddles for hours and hours.  We have bonded over his early wake ups and he made me his person.  It's ridiculous, how much I love this little guy.  Even in spite of his sometime three a.m. wake up calls.  Puppy cuddles are my favorite.  He is precious and he's made this season more sweet.  If you're reading for the first time, we have had him for two weeks today, and his name is Chip. 


Tuesday was my favorite day this week.  My mom-in-love and I shopped until we dropped.  This was while I was waiting on her to come out of Barnes and Noble.  We had so much fun!  I picked out my birthday and Christmas presents, we had lunch, we had a yummy mid-afternoon treat (a peppermint mocha milkshake from Chick Fil A), and we laughed at something we saw until we both cried. 

Here is my favorite thing we got that day, and she let me bring it home early, for my birthday that's next week.


I shopped my house and found all kinds of cute little things to put on each tier.  Isn't it adorable?


This is random, but I didn't do a "come on in" Christmas decor post this year, because it's pretty much the same as it is every other year.  But my garland this year is my favorite ever.  It's my mom's and she let me use all that she didn't use in her house this year.  I love it!  It's all over the place.  In the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, and on pieces of furniture.  I love the way it dresses up all the same old things I always use each year. 


I posted this on Instagram yesterday, a shelfie, for the #mycozywinterhome feed on Instagram, and looking at it makes me so happy.  My favorite things are books, and especially when special treasures are mixed in with them.  All things you see on the shelf mean something to me.  Some date way back to my sixteenth birthday. 


Nights like this are my favorite.  Cold weather, blankets, coffee out of the Keurig, and watching my favorite show with my favorite man.  This was last night, and all the boys were upstairs.

I'm looking forward to this weekend!  We have a Christmas party to go to tonight, and a program tomorrow night, and our community group Christmas party on Sunday night, with all the ninth and tenth graders.  I know it'll fly by.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.   

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday and Christmas things

For the month of December, I had printed out an Advent study I got for free through one of the inspirational Instagram accounts I follow.  I printed it out, and put it all into a three ring binder, along with all of my best intentions.  But then life happened, and I'm not going to do it this year.  Instead, I am going really slowly through some of the names of God I am writing out in my scripture writing plan.  I was still going to do both and just catch up, but as I have found a million times to be true, if I do more than one or two things at a time, I cannot do those one or two things well, and that makes me like a robot, just going through motions.


(This was what I was soaking in yesterday.)

I say that to encourage someone today.  I know I'm not the only one who does this to myself, I know if I looked even a tiny bit, I would find a bunch of you ladies doing the same thing, this act of over committing.  That action can apply to saying "yes" to too many events or things to do, or it can apply to something like this, bible study.  We are all only human, and not one of us can do all the things and do them well, without sacrificing something. 

That being said, I am loving going through and reading about and praying some of the names of God Shannon came up with for the month of December, in scripture writing.  The first ones have been Abba (similar to a meaning of Daddy), Adonai (Lord, Master), Almighty, Alpha and Omega, Author, Bread of Life, Bridegroom, Comforter.  I left off with Comforter, which I looked at and prayed more in an in-depth way yesterday, because of a circumstance in someone's life right now.

I love taking my time going through things like this, or with bible reading.  It seems that for me, the more I take my time, the more I get out of whatever I'm going through at the moment. 

Yesterday I had a shopping date with my mom-in-love.  We literally shopped until we dropped.  We left at eleven and started with lunch, and went until four forty-five.  I picked out some things for my birthday and Christmas that they bought for me, and then I bought a couple of presents. 

We had a blast, and were all over Germantown and Collierville.  I'm so glad I had the thought to put dinner in the Crock Pot yesterday, because all I had to do was cook rice and black beans and shred some cheese, and dinner was ready at five thirty.


My favorite place that we went to was Barnes & Noble.  I could literally stay in there for hours.  We went next door to Bath and Body Works and picked out some stocking stuffers, then I bought myself a new plug in refill, that smells like a pine tree forest.  I have a thing for woodsy smelling things right now. 

My favorite thing of all was at our last stop, and is something I've been wanting for a couple of years but can never justify spending that amount of money on something like it.  (But we got it for HALF OFF!) 



It's a galvanized steel three tier tray.  On its own, it is nothing special, but I came home and shopped my house and put some cute little things in it that are Christmasy.  I got the little plant yesterday too, as a birthday gift, and she went ahead and let me keep it.  I'll change out the items with the seasons, but I love it, and it looks so cute on my kitchen counter. 


I took a better picture last night when it was darker outside and the lights were brighter in the kitchen. 

I love it so much! 

That is basically how I decorate my entire house for Christmas, I add things to what is already around and just kinda mix it all together.  It's easy and stress free, doing it like this, and only takes a couple hours.  The tree is something the boys do while I bustle around the house doing other things, and we always finish by nine on Thanksgiving night.

It's the way that best works for our family, and I realize each family is different and some do it up more than what I do, and for them that's fine.  Honestly, I would love to be a little more that way, and have multiple trees, but I am into realistically thinking, and I do what I can handle. 

I never want the decorating part to stress me out, so if it ever gets to that point, I will have to reevaluate.  I am into minimalism just enough that this works perfectly. 


I'll leave you with a picture of a cute puppy who is really frustrating me at the very moment.  He won't stop running around, and I've been trying to get him to lay down.  I think he finally succumbed to sleep, and is snoozing on a pillow.  It's a good thing for him.  Ha!  I really do love him, and overall, he listens really well to only be eight weeks old.  It's a matter of training him, and slow and steady wins the race, as far as puppy lives go. 

Isn't he cute?

Did I mention that he made me his?  Each dog has their person, and it looks like I'm his, at least for now.  We'll see if it lasts.  I hope it does!  The last one who was mine was Andy, and I miss him terribly.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

the weekend and #mycozywinterhome


This was me, on Friday, when my favorite month of all finally came to be.  Hello, Love.  [Me, saying hello to December.]

I seriously love this month, and all that takes place.  I love it so much that as more and more of the month goes by, I get a little sadder each day. 

Also, do you follow One Small Thing on Instagram?  You should, if not.  It's Hoda Kotb's second account.  That where I got this image from.

Friday night was our town's Christmas parade.  I love the parade so much!  The marching bands are always my favorite.


It was so much fun. 

On Saturday, my mom-in-love and I had a girls day out, and had breakfast together, then went to a magical place called Board & Brush, and made these cute things.



It was such a fun day! 

We went our separate ways after that, and I came home and took a nap.  I had been up at three that morning.  I found this image on Instgram Friday night and decided to join in.  I'm sharing some pictures below that I've posted since I started. 


Day two was cozy, and I posted this picture, because what says cozy like a crackling candle and a sleeping puppy?  [He loves sleeping on the couch pillows, by the way.]


Day three was minimal, and I posted this picture of my purse, because I have stopped carrying actual purses and switched to clutches instead.  I love purses, don't get me wrong, but I hated how heavy mine always got, and I have found that I can live with way less to carry around than what I used to carry around in my huge purses.

I got this one from Charming Charlie a few weeks ago, and if you are local to me, know that the one in The Ville is going out of business soon.  I am sad over that, because I love that place.


I posted day four today, and it's evergreen.  I love my evergreen garlands this year, thanks to my mom!  She let me use hers this year, what she didn't use at her house. 


Church was so very good yesterday.  We didn't want to leave!  We said this verse and then sang a few lines of the Doxology to dismiss us, and I made this verse image on the You Version bible app.  I'm going to memorize it. 

How amazing is that verse?!  I love the part that says and He is able to protect you from stumbling. 


Our Christmas night of praise and worship was last night.  I love what our worship pastor said about last night, that it wasn't about our performance, but about the presence of the Lord.  He was made much of last night!

My friend Lori sent me this picture in a text, since obviously I didn't take it myself. 

It was a great weekend, and I am looking forward to the week ahead.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Friday Favorites [all things Christmas edition]


Happy Friday!  It is a gloriously beautiful day in The Ville, where I live.  Today is one of my favorite days of the year!  But more about that in a second.  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this post.

I'm backing up all the way to one week ago, when my dad, sister and my family all went to Zoo Lights together.  Every year for Thanksgiving, we celebrate with him and my step-mom on Friday.  We eat early, then we go to the zoo.  This is one of our very favorite things to do together as a family.  I love that even though my boys are all teenagers, they love it now as much as they always have.

We have taken people with us throughout the years, and this year my oldest son's girlfriend joined in.


This is my sister Trish and me inside the ice skating rink.  We love to watch the ice skaters every year, and we laugh when they fall.  I realize that this makes us sound like horrible people.  We're not, I promise.

Look at my beautiful sissy!  Her eyes are gorgeous in this picture.


So, this is Chip.  He was my favorite part of last week.  He's been with us for one week today!  He is seven weeks old, and so far, he loves me the most.


I am totally smitten by this little rascal.

I keep posting cute puppy pictures on my best friend's Facebook wall, because the world around us stinks right now.  And we could all use more cute puppy pics, right?!


One down side to this new puppy are the early morning wake up calls he's been giving me, but that is also an up side for me, because I am a morning person.  This means I've been having some really good quiet time each day.

On this particular day, I decided it was a good day to watch my favorite Christmas movie of all time, White Christmas.  I love Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. 


Two things in one, in this picture, are my favorites.  One is the new tablecloth you see pictured.  I ordered it off of Amazon, and I love it.  The second, and best, is this picture of my bible open to Proverbs.  I've been reading through this book during the month of November, and I finished it this week.


One night during the week, I had a girls night out with one of my favorite people in all of the land.  These Snapchat filters are hilarious and we were like old women playing on a teenager's phone.


This candle is my favorite!  It's by Nature's Wick, and it's a crackling candle.  I love it, and my sweet friend Andrea pictured above gave it to me for my birthday.



Our town tree lighting happened one night this week, as well, and that is always a favorite tradition.  I love our little town, and this sweet friend so much!  I think her hubby took that picture and I love how it turned out.



Last, but not least, is this scripture writing plan for December.  I love reading, studying, and writing out the names of God. 

I started this post Friday morning, but am just now getting around to finishing it and posting.  Oh well, looks like I missed the Friday link up, but I always say that this blog is more for me and my family than anyone else, so, I'm okay with that.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

a moment alone with the Lord

I know I'm not the only one who goes through ups and downs in life.  Some days are great, and everything is as wonderful as it could be.  Other days are not so much and are just tough, in general.  Sometimes I know the cause of such troubles and heartache.  Sometimes I don't know why I seem to be a little down in the dumps.  On the inside lately, I have been kinda blah about everything and just not full of joy, like usual. 

I had such a revelation with the Lord in my car while I was driving yesterday, that I feel like I have to share it on here.

First off, sometimes when I drive, I listen to K-Love or Air One.  Other times, though, and this is my favorite thing to do of all, I pray.  Yesterday was one such time.  I have to start by saying that I have really tried to be consistent lately in my quiet time with the Lord each day.  Some days it goes on for a while, other days it lasts for about twenty minutes.  Even though on those days when I do have my quiet time I read, I find that I will sometimes skimp on the prayer portion.  Note to self: do NOT skimp on that part.  If I skimp on anything, it should not be prayer.  He wants for us who believe in and who are followers of Him, to come to Him with everything in prayer. 

So while I was driving to Costco yesterday, I was praying.  I love to praise God for who He is; His attributes.  He is faithful, Prince of Peace, a good and loving Father, who is slow to anger and rich in love.  He is merciful and mighty and just and full of grace.  He is my strength, and He is the song I most love to sing.  After the praise part, I always ask Him to examine my heart and show me my sin.  This could be anything from gossip to a mean thought I had about someone.  Whatever it is, I confess it and I ask Him to forgive me and to change me.  The thanksgiving part comes next, followed lastly, by supplication, or prayer for others. 

I always ask for Him to use me, and to guide me and lead me throughout my day, and then I ask for Him to help me to walk in submission to Him throughout my day.  I don't want to leave that last part out...asking Him to help me walk in submission to His authority in my life means that He allows me to pay close attention to when the Holy Spirit might lead me to something, like a place or a possible conversation like what I am about to tell you about. 

I got my things from Costco and while I was there, I stopped to look at some books.  (I refrained from buying any.)  I overheard a lady ask a sales associate about a book, and since I knew of the author and the lady that worked there couldn't help any, I spoke up.  I told her my boys had loved books by him and that the ages of the book would work for the age range she was interested in buying for.  And then, we had this moment, the lady buying the book and myself, and realized we knew each other from our days at the local elementary school.  We realized we had homeschooling in common and we both started the same year.  We ended up talking for about ten minutes, each encouraging one another, and then we exchanged phone numbers and I left.  (I gave her my number because she was curious about homeschool curriculum and had questions about what we liked and didn't like.)  I left feeling like she had encouraged me, but the Lord showed me that maybe I had encouraged her as well. 

The reason I share this is two fold. 

One, is that the Lord is so good to us.  He is such a wonderful, kind Father to us, and He hears us when we pray.  He knew I had been a little down in the dumps lately about a few things, mostly self-esteem type issues over different areas of my life, and He gave me this sweet friend to lift me up and to encourage me.  Because in the short time we were together, that is what she did, reminding me of some really sweet things that took place under my watchful eye while I worked at the elementary school. 

The second reason is this: do not neglect prayer.  Take it all to Him each and everyday.  When you feel little fiery darts coming your way (like I have lately), most likely it is the enemy trying to mess with you in your life.  One of my favorite verses in the bible is Ephesians 4:27.  It says not to give the enemy a foothold.  Because that is all he needs, friends.  One little foothold leads to more and more and quickly, strongholds are forming in your life and your heart is becoming bitter and hardened.  I take great comfort that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

When I got back to my car and was pulling out of the parking lot, I was just overcome by the goodness of the Lord.  I started praying again, praising Him and thanking Him for all that He showed me through a divine appointment He had set up before this day was ever even a thought in my head.  I ended up doing that for the entire drive back to the Ville, which was about fifteen minutes, and in that time, I experienced His presence in my car while I was driving. 

What does that feel like, you wonder?  I don't know!  All I can say to explain it is that I was overcome with gratitude in my heart and by the emotion of the moment.  Tears were pouring out of my eyes, but I could clearly see and I wasn't sobbing.  I was just praying and the tears were streaming.  I promise, I was not a danger to society, like I said, I could clearly see.  I was just having a moment, and thanking Him and without even realizing it really, I was praying Scripture back to Him. 

I encourage you, if you are in a season of life that is difficult right now, or tiring: pray and ask the Lord to give you little pockets of time to spend with Him.  Whether that is at home before anyone else is up, or in bed late at night, or while driving in your car, when you find moments to pray, pray.  He knows the timing of your life and He will help you in this, I promise.  Quiet time doesn't have to be hours and hours long, friends.  It can be one chapter in the bible, or it could be a section of Scripture.  Any time with Him is better than no time.  Ask Him for help with this as well!  I promise, He is faithful and just, and He will help you. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

P.s.  Here is the December scripture writing guide, and check out the theme!



How appropriate and reverent and holy it will be to write all of this out.  Join me? 

forty-one

In honor of turning forty-one years young today, I thought I'd share forty-one things I am most grateful for and some things I absolu...