Bible in 90 Days - Weekly Review

Jan 31, 2011



As I have been reading this week I have been fascinated by the continued building that goes on in the Old Testament that is of immense grandeur.  Remembering that they do not have modern day machines and tools, I cannot imagine how this was ever done.  I have found myself wondering why God gave such detailed descriptions in I Kings 7, (and later in II Chronicles) of the dimensions and supplies used for the building of the Temple.

I have also been studying along with this book:

 It is broken into books and gives some history behind many of the chapters.  As I was studying for I and II Kings, I came across an article written about the archaeological digs happening in the biblical lost city of Hazor, which is where Solomon's temple was built.  I decided to dig a little deeper and found an amazing website about all kinds of Biblical Archaeology.  It fascinates me that so many details about Old Testament cities and stories are constantly being found under layers of dirt and ash, and thousands of different civilizations.

So back to my question about all those details!  Can you believe as archaeologists have uncovered these hidden cities that they are easier to identify because of the exact measurements given in the Bible?  God knows that we continue to doubt, and these finds are constant reminders of the truth of biblical history.

Just recently information was released about the very first evidence of the City of David.


"The House of David Inscription (also known as the “Tel Dan Inscription”) was discovered in 1994 during excavations at the ancient city of Dan. It is considered by many to be the first reference to the "House of David" discovered outside the biblical text.

The House of David Inscription appears to be a fragment of a victory monument erected by a king of Damascus (Aram) during the 9th century BC, some 250 years after King David’s reign. The fragment specifically mentions victories over a “king of Israel” (probably Joram) and a king of the “House of David” (probably Ahaziah). 


The House of David Inscription (Tel Dan Inscription) currently resides in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem."(source: AllAboutArchaeology.org)


 Is it just me, or does that not just totally ignite your faith?  As we read through the Old Testament, sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in all the tiny details that may seem insignificant in our current times, but you can see how they help prove over and over again that the Bible is true and accurate.  God is ALL ABOUT being in the details!

I hope if you are on this journey with me, that you continue to plow through the Bible and are not giving up.  I am confident that you will be richly blessed by this effort!  I know I have been!!

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A New Blog Makeover!

Jan 30, 2011

I spent many hours this weekend giving the blog a makeover that was long in the making.  I am SO happy with it.  What do you think?  It is finally much more streamlined and organized!!

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Blizzard Blog Hop!!

Jan 27, 2011

Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva


It's BLIZZARD BLOGHOP time again!

I participated in this last year for the first time and really enjoyed meeting new bloggers and their fabulous blogs.  So without further delay, let's get this party started!!  A big thanks to Ann Marie from Household Diva 6 for hosting anther party this year.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.  My name is Cherie, I am a Christian stay-at-home Mom, and I have been blogging for about two years.  I have met some incredible people through blogging, and they seem to bless me every day!  I've been married for 14 years to a man that God sent directly to me, and I have never let him escape!  He blesses me each and every day and I just can't imagine life without him.  We have three girls, a 20 year old in college, a 10 year old in 5th grade and a 9 year old in 3rd grade.  We have an incredible amount of fun with them.  The last member of our family is our Siberian Husky, McKinley.  She is gorgeous and provides our family with much joy.


My Family

How about a little randomness?

things i love - in a totally random order

Mountain Dew
gardening
summer
water skiing
family cabin in Canada
walks on the beach(I live in Illinois)
reading
my bible that was a gift from my parents
photography(find a link to my photo blog on the left sidebar)
scrapbooking
my dog
the water
twizzlers
the great outdoors
family walks
Jesus
my church
rubber stamping
authentic friends
graphic design
giraffes
teddy bears

Books I'm Reading
The Bible in 90 days
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Disciple Like Jesus by Alan Melton/Paul Dean

I am a Contributor at:

Seeds of Faith
ModSquad Moms

 I write here about everyday life with my family.  You'll also find that many of my posts are about my faith and all that Jesus Christ has done in my life.  I can't image life without His guidance, grace, and forgiveness.

I hope you'll stay and look around for awhile.  Be sure to leave me a comment so I can come over to visit your blog as well.  Enjoy the blog hop!!

You can find me on Twitter @MySoulReflects







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Eucharisteo-A New Word

Jan 25, 2011


If you spend much time out here in the blogosphere, I am sure you have heard all of the buzz about Ann Voskamp's new book One Thousand Gifts. (learn more about a book club here)  Well the buzz is all worth it, because it is ah-maze-ing.

But what I want to focus on today is a profound truth that I found for myself on page 15.  I want to quote it for you here so you can get the full focus of all that is hidden within this gem:

"From all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden Story.  Satan, he wanted more,  More power, more glory.  Ultimately, in his essence, Satan is an ingrate.  And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden.  Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity:
  the sin of ingratitude.  
Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.  Isn't that the catalyst of all my sins?  Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives.  We hunger for something more, something other."

I have struggled my entire life with always wanting "more".  This especially creates a problem when your income is limited, as I have lived, credit card debt can quickly get you into trouble.  I have never lived extravagantly, by any means, but the point is that I always wanted more than what God had already provided.

And He has provided me with more than I can count.  I've never been homeless.  I've never gone without anything that I need.  But I have lived the sin of ingratitude.  I am giddy.  Not because I am happy about my sin, but excited that I finally have the answer to my lifelong question of "why".  Why do I always want to go shopping?  Why do I buy things that I really don't need?  Why do I have the desire to canvas every garage sale and book sale?  My house is full, I need nothing, but yet I purchase more.

Yet as I buy more, I am never satisfied.  I can always find something else that I feel I need.  I have such relief in being able to identify this sickness.  It is as if I am a bottomless pit that can never be full.  That is the emptiness that Satan created when Eve reached out to take something that was not hers.  The one thing that God was not willing to give, surrounded by everything she could have possibly dreamed or imagined.  She was in paradise, but wanted more.

Does this sound like your life?  I hope that I am not the only one that will be touched so deeply by this message.  I have felt such a heavy weight off my shoulders this week as I have pondered this miraculous truth in my life.

Now that I have a greater realization of my battle, I can choose my weapons more carefully.  I can cut Satan off when he tempts me with the Sunday ads.  I can praise more deeply for all the gifts I have been given.  I can turn my attention to praise instead of supplication.  I will renew my journal of counting 1000 Gifts.  I will praise God for his Word that reminds me everyday that He has a purpose for me, and that His eternal plan has always been to return every believer to His full glory.

I implore you to read this book.  It will change you.  God will change you.

  1. God's message through gifted writers
  2. God's unfailing love
  3. forgiveness through Jesus Christ
  4. my Bible
  5. sunshine


iFellowship


I'm contributing over at The ModSquad Blog today. We're talking about family unity.

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Reading Choice for Bible in 90 Days


As you know, I am reading through the Bible in 90 days with a group of over 700 people over at Mom's Toolbox.  When I decided to finally take this challenge, I really struggled deciding what Bible I wanted to use for the reading.

My Bible is worn and has notes taken on the pages all the way through.  It is also a study bible, which means it has loads of cross-references and study notes at the bottom of each page.  I have been known to get off on a hunt through scripture by chasing those cross-references, finding wonderful things to study, but then forgetting what got me to that place to begin with!

I honestly thought the official Bible in 90 Days was probably just for a money making idea, and it wouldn't be any different than reading through my own Bible.  I decided to take the chance and found one Ebay, so I ordered it.  I am sure glad I did!

I have found that reading the official Bible for the challenge has the days marked out for me, so that helps me know just how much farther I need to read.  I also like that the typeface is larger, so is a little easier to read.  Because there are very few notes, I can't get lost following all those cross-references, and I have found that I am able to read it more like a novel, which I am really enjoying.

Whatever Bible you choose to read doesn't really matter, just be sure to READ IT!

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Ann Voskamp's New Book One Thousand Gifts

Jan 24, 2011

This WONDERFUL book finally came in the mail!  I had pre-ordered it at the Relevant Conference back in October and it was painful waiting for it's official release date!  I had been reading an internet copy of the book, but you booklovers know this just isn't the same as holding it in your hand, underlining and notating those passages that just make you stop and rethink again and again!


I was so pleased to be able to have a face to face conversation with Ann when we met in October.  It was like we were old friends(ok, you can tell from the pic that I was a little awestruck that she knew my name and blog!)  She was so incredibly gracious!  She is such a down-to-earth, lovely woman who truly loves the Lord with all her heart.  I wish I could go spend a week at her farm.  It seems like the most peaceful place on earth.  Her photography is always beautiful as well.

The book is the story behind how she began counting the blessings in her life.  You may be familiar with her uber popular Multitudes on Mondays at her blog, where she has listed over 1000 gifts from above.  I've read through Chapter 6 and I've been blown away!  Let me share with you a few quotes:

"from all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden story.  Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what he gives.  We hunger for something more, something other."

"His intent, since He bent low and breathed His life into the dust of our lungs, since He kissed us into being, has never been to slyly orchestrate our ruin.  His love letter forever silences any doubts:  'His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory'(I Corinthians 2:7)  His secret purpose-our return to our full glory."
"why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur?"

It is the kind of book that I can and will read again and again.  I haven't put it down since it arrived in the mail, and I know it will have the same effect on you!  You MUST get this book.  If your local book store doesn't carry it yet, you can purchase it here through Amazon:


Now even more good news!  Over at incourage beginning February 6th, this book will be featured for the book club discussion, and we have all been invited to join in on the fun!  So head over there for the details about the book club and how the discussions will work.  I know you won't want to miss it!

Ann recently recorded this beautiful youtube book trailer, and I thought you would like to hear her reading from a passage in the book:

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Are you a Chameleon?

Jan 21, 2011

April-2010-055 by abigailqueenbee, on Pix-O-Sphere


I was reading my friend Eryn's blog yesterday and it really made me think.  I don't want to be a chameleon, and I hope you don't either.   Don't miss this great post!

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God Listens

Jan 20, 2011


As I have read through the Old Testament through the Bible in 90 Days program, one thing that continues to stand out is that God is in the details.  He gives very specific instructions to the Israelites, all the way down to measurements and weights.  He doesn't leave anything to chance.

Wednesday night my daughter K was in a panic because she couldn't find her Young Authors book from last year that she needed to take to school for an example to show.  We both knew that it was in a white copy paper box that had recently come out of the toy room, but no one remembered moving it or storing it.  We searched EVERYWHERE.  Then when Husband got home, he searched EVERYWHERE again.  Needless to say, we were beyond frustrated.

I decided that the best solution was to pray.  God knows everything, so of course He knew exactly where this book was in our house.  Now some would find this silly.  They wouldn't pray about such a small thing, thinking that God is busy taking care of wars and famine and disease.  Yes I agree, He is a busy God, but that doesn't mean He doesn't hear my cry for help, regardless of what I need help with.  So I went up to my room, closed the door and prayed.  I acknowledged that He knew exactly where it was and that He is a God of details, big and small.  I asked Him to bring to my mind where this box was in our house.  I wasn't even done praying when the image of my daughter's closet and a large stack of clothes came to my mind.  I had already searched the closet and commented to her that there was a pile of clothes that she hadn't been wearing.  So I got my flashlight and went back to her closet-by now it was 10:30 pm and she was long asleep.  I dug through that pile of clothes and there buried underneath was the box we were searching for.  The book was inside.

GOD ANSWERS PRAYER.  Never doubt it.  Every word uttered to His ear is heard.  When you pray, the God of the Universe listens.

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God's Words Cannot Wait

"He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion 
until the day of Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 1:6

The Bible is very clear that God has specific plans for each of our lives.  But sometimes we get lost along the path of those plans.  We start making our own decisions and don't consult God first.  We fall into a reoccurring sin that holds us back.  We fall away from God and just float through life without direction.  We don't walk in obedience,  ignoring certain areas of our life that need work.  Our walk has become a crawl because we have hit a wall while experiencing these shortfalls.

An overwhelming truth has come to the surface again.  It should make every believer re-evaluate their hearts and service to God.  Have you considered that by your walk becoming a crawl, someone that God has placed in your path may not hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ?  Have you considered that an amazing opportunity for you to serve your God will go unmet because you are still battling the same sin?  God must wait until you finish the task He has given you at this time to be completed before you can be sent on His next assignment.

I know all too well what this feels like.  Our family has struggled with finances since the beginning of our marriage.  We have never had a budget.  We live paycheck to paycheck, and I mean that literally.  We have no savings.  This responsibility rests with me, as I have ignored God's constant leading and conviction to master this sin in my life. Now don't get me wrong; we don't live extravagantly!  We live in a 100 year old house that needs lots of repairs and drive very old cars!  But the point is, we have not lived within our means.  By not having a budget, often times the small expense that comes up with throw off the whole month!

But I digress......because this constantly battle takes place each and every month, my energies are wasted on this ugly beast.  I know God could be using me somewhere else, but with this elephant in the room, He cannot use me.  I must complete the task I am on.....and I haven't moved forward with this task.  It is enough to break a believer's heart knowing God wants to use you in powerful ways, but He must wait on you to be obedient!

This is at the top of my list for this year.  As part of my FOCUS for 2011, getting our finances in order and keeping to a budget is a must.

How about you?  Is there something God has spoken to you to finish but you've been held back?  I'd love to hear about it.  We can encourage each other to press on toward the finish!

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My friend Marci over at Overcoming Busy has a great post about praying over your plans.  Be sure to check that out!

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A New Business Endeavor - Blessings Unlimited!

Jan 19, 2011


I am absolutely thrilled to be making this announcement today!  I have become a Blessings Unlimited Consultant!  I was introduced to this fabulous company while at the Relevant Conference back in October, and I totally fell in love with their products and their mission.  Let me tell you a little bit about them.

Blessings Unlimited® was founded by DaySpring®, the world’s leading producer of Christian greeting cards. For over 35 years, DaySpring has partnered with Christian stores in local communities to offer meaningful products. Blessings Unlimited continues that tradition and extends the opportunity to the home.  They offer a unique blend of business and ministry. Their exclusive, message-based products include home décor items and gifts created to encourage hearts, build relationships, and bring beauty to the place you live. Through home parties, called Gatherings, they provide a unique shopping experience and a business opportunity which provides the freedom and flexibility to spend time on what is most important to you.

I came home from the Relevant Conference with several gifts from Blessings Unlimited, as they were a sponsor for the event.  Their generosity was incredible!  And it doesn't stop there.  I have not seen a home based business that showers their hostesses with so much free product for hosting a Gathering!

I hosted my first Gathering in my home on Monday evening, and it was so fun to see everyone enjoying  the unique products offered and being blessed by their incredible message:

Be inspired. Be connected. Be blessed.
I would be most grateful for your support!  I know when you see these beautiful pieces, you will be inspired and want to bring them into your home to bless your family!  I have a webpage where you can view the catalog online and place an order, easy as that!  

Have you been looking for a way to contribute to  your family's income?  Whether you want a fun, new career or a flexible part-time business that allows you more time with your family, you can choose the path that fits you best. Combining your work and faith is an incredibly rewarding way to live and make a living.  You can find more information about being a consultant on my webpage.  I'd love to have you join me!

Every big announcement needs a giveaway right?   Anyone who places an online order between January 19th and Noon on January 24th will be entered in a drawing to win this beautiful Women's Journal Set:

To be entered in the drawing, simply come back to this post and leave me a comment telling me what you ordered!  I can't wait to see your favorite products! 

And just in case I forget to tell you, thank you so much for supporting me and helping me get this new business endeavor off to a great start!! 
 

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Bible in 90 Days - Week 2

Jan 17, 2011

MomsToolbox

We have completed week two, and I am right on target.  I must admit, I was really afraid to start this challenge because I felt I was going to fail.  But these last two weeks, I look forward to the reading each day.  The history of God's people is amazing.  Here are some of the highlights of my reading this week of Leviticus through Deuteronomy 23:11:

  •  I found that reading through the history requires a Master's in Genealogy, as the family lines are constantly referred to.  I couldn't keep up with who people were, so I stopped my reading mid-week so I could write out the family tree of Abraham and all of the descendants.  Not sure where my brain was, because then I went to search it on the internet and found a lovely chart at Wikipedia. I am a visual learner, so this really helped me.
  • Leviticus is full of every kind of offering to the Lord: trespass, guilt, sin, peace.  Each one required the slaughter of animals.  Hard to read page after page.
  • In chapter 10 we witness the deaths of Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu by a consuming fire of God.  The two sons had offered an unauthorized fire before the Lord contrary to his command.  The seriousness of God's commands becomes very apparent through these books as God does not allow for these kinds of mistakes.  Several other examples are given of life being taken for disobedience to God's commands.  It made me realize once again that our world does not take sin seriously. 
  • I love seeing through the beginning chapters of Numbers that God is in the details.  He gives instructions even for how the camp should be set up and where each tribe is to settle.  He meticulously counts the members of each tribe to determine their numbers of fighting men.
  • I love Numbers chapter 22 when God allows the donkey to speak to Balaam as he was trying to thwart God's commands.  What I found funny was that there is no indication of Balaam's reaction to the donkey turning his head around and talking to him, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"  Balaam just answers the donkey as if he were talking to a human being!  I was amused.
I hope if you are reading the Bible in 90 Days that you won't give up.  It is easy to catch up if you are just a few days behind.  I've found at least one day a week when I can read more than the requirement so that I can stay just a bit ahead, just in case I run into one of those days that I can't get the reading done.

I have been so blessed, and I am thankful that God seems to be calling me to him each day to sink deeper into his Word and find Him there in new ways each day.

Be sure to check back with me again next Monday for this weeks reading recap.

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Oh No, Not Another Birthday!

Jan 14, 2011




"Every woman should have a mirror that reflects her spirit-that's where God brings out her true beauty."

If I could stop it, I would.  I've held my foot against the door of yet another birthday, but it barged right in anyway.  Talk about an unwelcome guest!  I asked it not to come.  But here it is.  Another birthday.  I wish I could tell you I was turning 36 today, just a few years younger than my handsome husband.  But then, I would be lying.  How old am I really?  Oh you dare to ask!  I reserve the right to refuse to answer!

How do we all go so quickly from loving our birthdays when we were young to dreading them?  I think the answer can usually be found in the mirror.  We start seeing less of ourselves and more of our parents!  We soon realize that youth is fleeting.  The wrinkles begin to stack up.  Our vision becomes blurry.  Folds of skin begin to appear in places it shouldn't!

The quote above was on my calendar January 10th, and it has stuck with me.  How true is that?  Wouldn't we have a much better view of ourselves in all areas if we just remember how God thinks of us?  He doesn't care about the skin we are wearing, He just wants to love the soul that is hidden inside.

I remember my Grandmother's hands were one of my favorite features of old age.  Although wrinkled and shrunken, they remained so very soft and gentle.  They depicted wisdom and many years of experiences.  They held her own two children, her three grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren within her lifetime.  They were strength and dignity.

I need to change my focus when I dwell on getting older.  I pray it will be a sweet time of gathering family, witnessing weddings and birthdays, and many vacations.  Despite the wrinkles, I am the same person hiding within this shell of skin, the same soul that God created and loves without boundaries.  Now THAT I can celebrate!


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DeCluttering on a Terror

Jan 13, 2011

As part of my word for 2011, Focus, I have been feeling a great need to organize and declutter.  I started cleaning Wednesday after several weeks of family being home and the craziness of the holidays, and I found myself in a very rare mood of wanting to just throw everything away!

Here is where I need the advice of my friends:  when you have been in a mood like this, when you just want it all out of your house, have you ever regretted throwing something away?  Has there ever been a time that you decided to really clean and then after garbage day, wish you would have thought harder about what you were choosing to pitch?

Clutter is winning at our house right now, and I don't want to do anything I might regret later!  I may need someone to shout into a megaphone:  "Step away from that filing cabinet!" 

What do you think?  Keep going and pitch it all?  or  Stop cleaning at once before I do something I'll regret?

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Celebrating the Good, Grieving the Sad

Jan 12, 2011

Much of the joy of blogging, Facebook and Twitter is found in the relationships we build with new friends across hundreds of miles.  We invite them into our lives, and we invest in theirs as well.  Sometimes we are even lucky enough to meet in the flesh and offer hugs of greetings, with smiles of affirmation and friendship.  The good always keeps us coming back for more encouragement.

But joy is a one sided part of these relationships, as these are real people we are investing in, even if only through the written word.  And sometimes the other side of joy is sorrow.  My heart has been heavy of late with the news of so many struggling with illness, house fires, and the loss of loved ones.  Even though in many cases I haven't met these friends, the hurt for them is very real.

The one thing that sets us apart from all others as a body of Believers is our ability to make a difference across hundreds of miles by the uplifting of prayers for our friends.

Today it is on my heart to share a few names of friends who could really use your prayers and continued encouragement.  They don't know I am posting this today, but if you know them, feel free to stop by their blog or give them a shout out on Twitter of love and encouragement.  If you have the time, I will be setting time aside this evening at 9:30 pm Central time to pray over these friends and I invite you to join me.  I would love many voices to be assaulting heaven with the names of these friends.  May God be glorified through their struggles.

Penny:  She recently lost her husband in a hunting accident.  They have two small children.
Stephanie:  Yesterday her family experienced a house fire.  Damages are still pending.  They have four children.
Chele: Recently had surgery for Thyroid Cancer and is awaiting further treatment.  Her husband has been unemployed for some time and finances are slim.  They have four children.
Jess:  Is awaiting the birth of her second child, but is over a week late and very uncomfortable.
Joanne: Suffered a stroke yesterday morning that is requiring surgery today to relieve pressure on her brain.  She has two children.

My Precious Jesus, would you cover these beautiful women with your unfailing love today.  Please bring peace to their families as they endure these hardships.  May your name be glorified through their circumstances.  Would you provide healing to each and everyone one of them.  We lift them into your glorious hands.  Amen.

Do you have a burden upon your heart that we can uplift in prayer?  I'd be happy to add you to this list and pray for you this evening as well.  Feel free to leave a request in the comments.

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Slow to Learn

Jan 11, 2011

I'll be the first to admit..........I am a slow learner about myself.  Teach me anything else, and I pick it up really fast.  Show me, because I am a visual learner, and I can do it again very quickly and correctly.  But when it comes to learning and knowing myself, man can I take forever to "get it".  Nothing too deep today, just the fact that I have recently discovered that I have an affinity for trees.  Yes, you read that right, I like trees!  As I have looked back on many of my photos, you guess it, many are of trees!  Even when I am enjoying the photography over at Pixosphere, I gravitate toward the photos of trees.  I don't know what it is about them, but I love their structure, their grandeur, and their symbolism.  Here are a couple great shots by a new photography listing at Pixosphere by Darron Haworth.  I don't know him, but he has some great shots to share!

Fog Timelapse by dhworth, on Pix-O-Sphere


Sunrise by dhworth, on Pix-O-Sphere


Remember, over at Pixosphere you can share your own photos, or grab something to put on your blog, and it is all free!

Aren't these lovely trees?

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Bible in 90 Days - First Week of Reading

Jan 10, 2011

MomsToolbox 

The first week of reading the Bible in 90 days is complete, and I am thrilled to say that I am right on target and have actually read one day ahead for those inevitable days that don't go as planned!  I have really enjoyed reading Genesis and Exodus as a whole to really be able to appreciate the history that began there.  When reading our bibles, sometimes the familiar can be skimmed over and we forget that God has something new for us each time we read.  Here are a few things that really came to light for me this week:

  • Genesis 1:26 quotes God saying, "Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness..."  As believers I think we forget that Jesus did not just come on the scene when he was born in Bethlehem!  He has been with God for all of eternity.  Here we see God use the plural term for His trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit as being present during the creation.  Reference John 1:1-2 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning."  Remember the Word is another name for Jesus.
  • The crazy relationships between people always astounds me when I read the Old Testament.  So many wives, concubines, and children.  The family tree is a mess!  Do you have a list of things you'd like to ask God when you get to heaven?  Add this one!
  •  Through the reading of the history of the nation of Israel, I am always astounded at their stubborness to truly surrender to God and follow Him.  It seems they couldn't remember the awesome things that they had just seen: the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, water coming out of rocks, God speaking on the mountain, the pillar of cloud and fire to guide them.  The same thing will occur when Jesus begins his ministry.  His own people, the Jews, couldn't see Him for who He really is.  As I have run this through my mind all week, I have realized that we are no different.  God refers to the Israelites as stiff-necked people.  Upon pondering, I am sure that this generation is even worse.  We have removed God from our schools and public places, God's name is constantly defiled, everyone chooses for themselves what is right and wrong, we consider homosexuality and gay marriage as a person's legal right, society kills thousands upon thousands of unborn babies each year through abortion.  I could go on and on, but reviewing our society's wickedness is depressing.  All I can say is that I was very humbled this week and changed my attitude of arrogance toward the Israelites to kinship, because following God isn't easy, even when He blesses us beyond our imagination.
  • The history through Leviticus is a bloody mess.  I always pictured the Tent of Meeting to be a beautiful place of worship and atonement.  It certainly is a place of atonement, but it is covered in blood and guts from every kind of animal imaginable.  I don't know how I missed this before, but this is another great discovery that can only be found by reading it all together as a whole.  The penalty for sin is death and bloodshed.  The tent was filled with it day and night and it seems the Priest's job was anything from glamorous and this service was their calling from God.  Reading through this history makes the bloodshed of Christ all the more precious because He took the place of death for me and made himself the sacrifice for my sin.
I must confess that I will be happy to be done with the book of Leviticus, as it is making me queasy!  I hope those who are reading are being blessed and will continue the challenge.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about what the Lord has spoken to you through this week's readings.

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A Weekend in Wisconsin

Jan 7, 2011


It has been a tradition for many years to meet my husband's extended family over Christmas break somewhere in the midwest, sometimes Minneapolis, sometimes the Wisconsin Dells, or like this year, in Madison, Wisconsin.  Husband's cousin was in charge of finding a place for us to stay and she found this incredible Red Barn that has been converted into a very large lodge.  We had a total of 23 people, and we all fit comfortably, with plenty of room for all the kids to run around and play, lots of space to eat, and a great kitchen to make our own meals.  I especially love that part because eating out for the weekend can be so expensive and time consuming.  It takes a long time to serve 23 people! (not to mention keeping kids entertained that long!!)


 Inside the silo they had built a four story spiral staircase.  It was very cool!  Of course, the photographer in me had to go out exploring.  Here are a few shots from our walk on the property.







We were in Wisconsin, so we had to wear orange during hunting season!  Below me and K hanging out by the big fireplace.


We all played Guesstures one night and our sides hurt from laughing until we cried!  I just love family events like that.  We had a great time!

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Beating the Clock

Jan 6, 2011


Is there really any way to "Beat the Clock"?  I'm thinking not.  Since God created only 24 hours in our day, I am sure He thought it was plenty before we needed rest for the next day.  Within our usual selfish desires, we try to push it to the limit, scheduling every minute of the day and then some.

If you read my post from yesterday, you know that I am having a serious problem with time management.  What that really means is that I haven't managed my time at all!  This year I plan to change that.

As I was thinking of my word for the year (Focus), I knew this issue must be met head on if I was to be successful at anything I had in mind for this year.  God must have agreed with me, because the day I sat down to write about it, I was invited to a Time Management Bible Study on Facebook!  Can you believe it?  This is only day two, and I have already been very convicted on how I use my time.  I invite you to check it out!

Over the next week I plan to implement the use of some new software I was given to manage my time better.  I can't wait to check it out to see if it really streamlines my days.  Honestly, my management is so bad, that it can't possibly fail!  I'll let you know all about it next week.

In the meantime, head over to Seeds of Faith today to read more about my thoughts regarding the way we spend time with our families.

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New Focus for 2011

Jan 5, 2011


Over the last couple months of 2010 I knew my world needed to change in 2011.  Some really great things happened in 2010, especially my renewed closer walk with Jesus by establishing a new morning routine and devotion time.  But after that time in the morning, my days fell apart.  Very few days had a plan or a schedule, and therefore many things on my mental to-do list never got accomplished.  For the first time ever, I felt very disconnected, disorganized and scatterbrained!  Honestly....some days I am not sure if I got anything accomplished!

I've decided to choose a word for 2011 that will help me stay on track:  FOCUS

God:  I will focus more of my time on God's word by taking the Bible in 90 Days Challenge.  I began this challenge on Monday, which breaks down the bible into about 12 pages per day(about an hour) to be able to complete reading the entire bible in 90 days.  YES it is going to be a challenge for me.  But I felt God calling me to do this, and I know He will help me persevere.  I've been praying about it for several months.

I also want to focus more time turning my children's hearts toward God each and every day.  My husband and I were looking at past Christmas photos last night and were amazed at how much our children change each and every year.  Our time with them is growing short and I must concentrate on growing strong roots of faith in each of them.

Family:  I want to focus being more available to my husband and children.  This is going to mean that I put the laptop down during family hours of 3-10 pm.  This is also a hard one for me!  I love visiting with friends on Twitter and reading others' blogs, but it has interfered with family time when I have been distracted by a computer on my lap!  I have also found that I spend too much time online during the day and my household obligations are not getting done....like when no one can find any socks!

Time Management:   This is such a buzz catch phrase, but I am truly awful at it and must get better.  My days get away from me and I just don't seem to get much accomplished.  Hours can float past my as I read blogs or check emails or visit with friends on Twitter, and before I know it, the kids will be home in an hour and I haven't done anything!  I failed at creating a Household Planner, and that is on my to do list again for this year.  I need a schedule for the week that I can stick to and get things done!  I recently discovered some software that I hope is going to help me with this.  I will be trying it out and giving it a review, so stay tuned for more on that.

My mind is reeling with things that I would like to do better in 2011.  For now, I must make small goals to begin with and these are my first three.  They are big, but my God is BIGGER!

Are you making any changes for 2011?



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