Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy tears...

holy experience

We gathered around the Thanksgivng table, my husband, me, our girls, our sons-in law, our grandbabies, my 84 year old mama, a young married couple from the church.  There was enough food to feed twice as many abundance.  We are abundantly, overwhelmingly, undeservedly, lavishly, blessed by God.  A few hours later, youngest baby grandaughter can be heard squealing and making happy sounds as she watches her cousins play.  I look up, and my daughter is weeping happy tears of gratitude and happiness, as she hears her baby girl so long waited for, prayed for, now here.  Today, as I think about miraculous answers to prayer, like my precious grandaughter, along with unexpected blessings given from God's hand, just because...I am grateful and I could shed a few happy tears as well.

Thank you God for...

141)Hugs from a daughter in the Lord

142) Grandson saying "The Bible says" and then "quoting" his own five year old mixed up version of verses, usually several Bible truths all clumped together

143) Oldest grandaughter making dinner rolls with me, and us both having a "sample", and then her saying, "Nana, I just wish I could eat the whole batch by myself!"

144) Making pies with my daughters and grandbabies
Two little pies made by 6 year old grandaughter and 5 year old grandson

145) Youngest daughter home in time for Thanksgiving dinner in spite of a flight delay
Youngest daughter and her best friend

146) Nine month old baby grandaughter trying to say "I love you" and giving slobbery kisses
Happy mama with her precious gift from God

147) Sunday afternoon naps

148) Decorating the house for Christmas with Handel's Messiah playing in the background

149) Dancing with the grandkids to Christmas music

150) Macy's holiday parade downtown with family and friends

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Welcoming the season...

We won't go cut down our tree from the farm for another week or so,
but it's still beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 
We welcome the season of His birth...and look forward to His coming again.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel",
no longer a babe,
but King of Kings
Lord of Lords...
and He shall reign forever and ever.

Presence more than presents...

Yesterday we attended the annual holiday parade downtown.  This is our after Thanksgivng tradition.  All the daughters, sons in law, and grandbabies were home this year, which makes it extra special.  Friends also come along, the more the merrier!  Then we venture into a few stores,  and give up quickly, heading home for leftovers, naps and Christmas movies.

Today, hubby and youngest daughter, (his favorite football game companion) are heading three hours north for the Apple Cup game...Washington Huskies vs. Washington State Cougars.  Go DAWGS!  Often, I go along and putter around my favorite shops, as well as sit by the lake with coffee and my Bible for some precious Jesus time.  But today, I decided to do my puttering here at home...putting away all of the fall decor, and getting out all of the Christmas decorations. 

This year, I feel a desire to keep things clean and simple.  In every way I want this holiday to be stress free and Jesus focused.  I want my decorations to be more simple and  less cluttery. I don't want to feel compelled to use all 4 plus totes full of "stuff".  I want my gift giving to be the same-simple, thoughtful, not just buying without prayerful planning.  I want Holy Spirit presence to be our focus this season, not presents. And that has to start in me.  Come Holy Spirit, in me, through me, have Your way.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We bring the sacrifice of praise...

holy experience

We bring the sacrifice of praise..." It's the words to a chorus that was popular some years back, but it's based on the scripture found in Hebrews 13:15 (Amplified Bible)...
"Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times, offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name."
We were part way through praise and worship last Sunday, when God dropped a thought into my mind and heart.  I remembered the many times that my husband has reiterated something he once heard, "This life is but a dressing room for eternity."  With that in mind, the thought came to me that this life, is the only time we will ever truly offer to God a sacrifice of praise.  Once we enter eternal life, we will no longer have to fight through the contrary thoughts of our mind, the turbulent emotions of our soul, or the attention grabbing feelings of our body, to praise Him.  In that day, praise will finally be truly, completely, unhindered my our body and soul.  But now, in the here and now, is our one chance to offer to Him a true sacrifice of praise...when circumstances are difficult, when the mind is easily distracted, when the emotions scream at us to give in to them, when the body is tired, or sick, or in pain...when we, in spite of these things, thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name, how sweet that must be to His ears, to His heart.  And this life, here and now, in this body of flesh, is my one chance to bless Him in that way. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life with whipped cream and a cherry on top...

Having grandbabies is the whipped cream and cherry on top of the sundae that is my life.
My cup overflows with thanksgiving.
Thank You, God.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Leaven from Heaven"

holy experience

It all started with Ann's blog.  I started my gratitude list  in my special little thanks journal, (decorated by my crafty oldest daughter!), and joined the whole gratitude community in the blogosphere. 

Then friends read my blog and some of them started too. But that was just the beginning.  I got the idea to invite our church  family to join in by having 30 days of Thanksgiving for the whole month of November.  Each day of this month, the members of Truelife Church have been posting something that they are grateful for that day as their Facebook status.  It has been fun to watch people "catch" the attitude of gratitude, as not only the members of Truelife have caught it, but friends of friends caught it and joined in and used Facebook to count their blessings.  God's Word says a little leaven leavens the whole lump...that can be a negative or a positive thing, depending on what leavening agent you are using.  Thanks Ann for "leaven from heaven".  Gratitude. Thanksgiving. Praise.  It's a powerful thing.

131) Five year old grandson toting his dad's old college bookbag to church, filled with Bible, notepad, pencils
132) The "trees of the field clapping their hands" right outside the window in my upstairs home office
133) A taste of summer in November-homemade freezer jam on top of whole wheat waffles-Yum!
134) Six year old grandaughter grinning from ear to ear as she beats Papa at Uno and finds the word "foofoo", (a food she ate in Ghana), when she was playing Boggle
135) A phone call from my oldest brother, just to check in and tell me he loves me
136) Rolls and rolls of white satin ribbon found at the dollar store, soon to be used to pretty up the packages under the tree
137) Fun little home "crafty" projects
138) Pre-holiday deep cleaning all done-YaY!
139) Giving out Thanksgiving baskets to people in need
140) Wonderful worship and a challenging life-changing message at church

Saturday, November 21, 2009

When the cat's away...

Hubby's out of town for a couple of days, so...
...yesterday I had my devotions and my morning coffee in bed with everything all spread out on his side of  the bed, and I left it that way, all day, all night, ready for a repeat this morning!
...I had lunch with a lady from our church's north location, and got to know a sister in the Lord better!
...went to the dollar store and found rolls and rolls of white satin ribbon, which is so much nicer on Christmas gifts than stick on bows
...finished my Jesse's branch project
...tried to make a Christmas wreath made of ornaments from an idea on a blog and discovered I need three times the amount of ornaments than what I bought...I need to go back to the dollar store
...went and checked on my mom and did some errands for her
...ate cereal for dinner
...put my pjs on incredibly early
...remembered I hadn't exercised yet, so went on the elliptical in my pjs
...watched a girl movie while catching up  on my blog reading, all while in bed
BUT, Hubby's out of town for a couple days so...
...I'm very lonesome
...He's not here to make the coffee and bring me my first cup, like usual
...He's not here to talk to, to be with
I wish he was home.

Friday, November 20, 2009

All ready!

All done and ready for December 1st!  This is the Jesse's Branch idea that I talked about in yesterday's blog.  I'm not sure if this is where it will sit once December starts, or if I will embellish it with anything besides the little name tags.  Twenty-five tags, each with one name of Jesus with the reference on the flip side of the tag, wait to be put on the branch, one each day up through Christmas. (When I say names, I mean titles such as The Door, Bread of Heaven, Bridegroom, King of Kings...) I entitled a little spiral bound pack of index cards "Jesus...Name Above All Names" and then printed inside the scriptures and references found on the tags.  There are certainly more than 25 titles for Jesus in the Bible, so I am going to continue to work on memorizing scriptures about His titles even after I'm done with the first 25.  This will also help in my pursuit of filling my mind and heart with more knowledge of Him and passion for Who He is.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jesse's Branch...a God idea.

Just yesterday I blogged about not knowing which scriptures to start committing to memory, (verbatim with references!). I was having a tough time because I wanted this to be a God idea, not just a good idea. What did He want me to commit to memory? In the meanwhile, in my own life I have been on a journey to get to know this Jesus that I have served since childhood better. At age 52, (ouch!), I'm still amazed at how little I know about Him-how the deeper I wade into the knowledge of Him and His heart, the more bottomless I find the depths of Who He is to be.

So, randomly, I was thinking about next week being Thanksgiving, and then about getting out the Christmas decorations after that and into my mind pops my "new" little antique bowl.
I thought how maybe for Christmas I will take a little branch and "plant" it into a tin can with some plaster of paris, put the whole thing into the antique bowl, add a layer of rock salt into the bowl for a snow/ice effect and decorate the branch with some minature ornaments. And then the AH HA moment, which relates to the opening paragraph of this blog, and the whole memorizing scripture, and getting to know Jesus better. The AH HA moment was remembering that for advent some people have a Jesse Tree, taken from the passage in Isaiah 11:1 referring to the coming Messiah, Jesus, as a branch from the root of Jesse, King David's father. A Jesse tree is decorated with ornaments depiciting Bible events leading up to the Gospels. Now for the AH HA! Suddenly I thought, I am going to make my idea into a Jesse's Branch, and make little tags with a name of Jesus found in the Bible, (like The Way, King of Kings, etc.), for every day up through Christmas. On one side of the tag I will write the name, and on the other side I will write the reference where the name is found. AND, AH HA!, I WILL MEMORIZE, WITH THE REFERENCE, THESE SCRIPTURES...WHICH ALSO IS REVEALING MORE ABOUT WHO HE IS TO MY MIND AND HEART! YaY! I am very excited about this...and when I am excited about something, I want to get started now!

So I found these little tag thingies at the local office store. I could have made and printed tags on the computer, cut out Christmasy shapes out of construction paper, or numerous other things, but for some reason these came into my mind and I liked the idea. The reference where the name of Jesus is found will go on the back.

I didn't want the plain string that the tag thingies came with, so I replaced it with yarn. I dipped the end of the yarn into melted wax from a candle and let it dry so it threaded through the holes very nicely.

Today, I am going out looking for the perfect branch. I will also be printing out the scriptures in my little spiral bound index cards to begin my memorization. I am very excited. I have shared this idea with the ladies from our church, and many of them want to have a Jesse's Branch in their house this year as well. What a great way to count down to Christmas with the family, adding a name for Jesus to the branch each day, talking about it, reading the scripture. This month, many from our church have been participating in 30 days of Thanksgiving by posting something that we thank God for as our Facebook status each day. Next month, we are going to post on Facebook the name of Jesus that is going on our Jesse's branch each day. I really think this was a God idea!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where do I begin?

holy experience
Last weeks challenge from Ann at Holy Experience convicted me. As I said last Wednesday, I don't have a formal scripture memorization plan. I know the Word from years and years of familiarity, from reading it, studying it, teaching it. But last week, as I read Ann's blog and others who follow her blog, I was convicted to begin to memorize, (verbatim with references), the scripture. The dilemma is, where do I begin? Proverbs 27:7 says that to the hungry, even the bitter things are sweet...what this means to me is that ALL of God's Word is good, sweet, nourishing. Once you grasp the truth that everything God does is motivated by love, then even the difficult things, like the passages of scripture that speak about His judgements, become sweet. Which leads me back to my question...I've got a little pack of spiral bound index cards all ready and waiting for me to write the verses on for review...but where do I begin? After all, it's God's Word, and it's all good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset...

holy experience

In the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, the daughter of the main character is getting married. In the background you hear the song, "Sunrise, Sunset". One of the lines in that song is "I don't remember getting older. When did she?" Isn't that the truth! The older you get, the faster time seems to fly by. And nothing causes you to face the truth about the passage of time, more than seeing your kids grown, and seeing your grandkids growing! But with each new day, between each sunrise, and each sunset, with each new season of life, God is worthy of praise, thanksgiving, gratitude.

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is deepest with me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not one of all His benefits. Who forgives everyone of all your iniquities, Who heals each one of all your diseases. Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption. Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving kindness and and tender mercy. Who satisfies your mouth, (YOUR NECESSITY AND DESIRE AT YOUR PERSONAL AGE AND SITUATION), with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's -strong, overcoming, soaring! Psalm 103:1-3 Amplified Bible

I thank God for...

121) Family dinner on Monday nights

122) A sunny, unexpectedly warm, fall morning

123) favorite fruit!

124)Peace about God's will for our youngest daughter

125) An antique bowl I had my eye on...a gift from my hubby

126)An hour from the city, fruit orchards!... and our annual trip with friends to pick up our fruit order.

127) Lunch with my daughter

128) Encouraging words

129) The voice of a young boy sitting next to me in church, singing songs of worship

130) My girls