May 31, 2011

Worship is one of the best weapons against Satan.  He can't stand to be in the presence of anyone worshiping God.  Recently our music director at church stated this:

"We cannot experience true worship without wonderment and awe of God."

As I replayed that statement over and over in my mind, it began to really resonate truth to me.  I can't truly honor or worship God without complete reverence for who He is, the Master of the Universe, My Creator, the Creator of every living thing.

We sang one of my favorite worship songs in church after he made that statement, The Revelation Song.  I love the lyrics and have decided to not just sing it as an act of worship, but to also use it as a prayer.  I thought I would share it with you here today:

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, 

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Take an extra moment today to stand in wonderment of  your King of Kings.


The Book of Acts - Paul's Message of Encouragement

May 30, 2011

Acts 13:13-44

As you might expect, while Paul is traveling and preaching, he stops at quite a few different synagogues to worship.  This week we listen in as Paul and Barnabas are asked to encourage the believers in Pisidian Antioch.  As with many of the sermons found in Acts, because they are in Jewish territory, they recite much history of the church through the Old Testament.  But they are also addressing Gentile believers, so Paul is sure to bring the Old Testament and New Testament together through the resurrection of Jesus.

Paul's good news and encouragement is simple:  all believers are justified through faith in Christ Jesus.

A simple message with profound ramifications.  Justified=righteous, blameless.  When we are standing before the throne on our final judgment day, all Jesus will see is a precious believer, standing in a white robe, singing praises to God at His throne.

Our sin is unseen through the blood of Jesus poured out for all on the day of his crucifixion.  Hallelujah!


Book Discussion - Why Christian Kids Rebel - Week 4

May 26, 2011

Dr. Tim Kimmel is the founder of  Family Matters  and the author of this great book, Why Christian Kids Rebel.  He has given us some valuable insight into the rebellion that sometimes happens within Christian households.  This week we are discussing Chapter 6, Cliche Christianity. 

I smiled when I read the first paragraph and the quote, "We handed her Jesus on a platter!"  I think we all may be shocked to know that this could be part of the reasons for rebellion!  As parents, we try to give our children all that they need, and sometimes by doing it for them, we stunt their growth experience.  The same thing can happen with their faith.  We can't do it for them.  When we try, their faith ends up being shallow and superficial.  They must be allowed to wrestle through some of their own faith questions, allowing room for God to speak and the Holy Spirit to move.

I am curious to know what you thought about the discussion regarding Christian schools and home education of Bible curriculum.  Dr. Kimmel ascertains that too much bible theory and study from a curriculum point of view may cause bible overload that could actually subtract from their ability to create a heart-connection to God instead of just a head-connection.  Do you think his argument is valid?

Dr. Kimmel offers these guidelines for children attending Christian schools, but I think they are great guidelines for all children:

  • make sure the school never takes the place of the church in your child's life
  • expect your children to be active contributing members of their church youth group
  • teach your kids to serve others
  • expect your children to be leaders
  • keep them on the front lines in the battle for the kingdom
  • expect their school to cover the academics while taking your primary role as the spiritual trainer
We are about half way through this book discussion.  How have you been liking it?  Have you been surprised about anything you have learned thus far?


My Life is Beautiful

May 25, 2011

I have a friend who loves me
so much that He died in
my place as the ugly
punishment of my sin.

my life is beautiful

My friend, Jesus, provides
me with grace and mercy
each and every day so I
can live my life to the
fullest, to His honor.

my life is beautiful

My Husband loves me
beyond what my heart
can fathom.  I am spoiled
with his grace every day
as well.  I can't imagine
life without him.

my life is beautiful

I've been blessed with three
amazing girls, who teach me,
who love me  beyond reason,
and give me an abounding
joy no mother could ever
possibly dream of having.

my life is beautiful

My home is my refuge,
peeling paint, constant repairs
and all.  Comfort and love are
found here, built here.

my life is beautiful

My family is close knit, fun
and strong.  We bare the scars
from many of life's battles; but
always together.

my life is beautiful

Blogging and twitter have
created new friendships for me
across the country, the world.
I am challenged, encouraged,
and humored through these
amazing connections each and
every day.

my life is beautiful

God has blessed me, again and
again; stretched me beyond what
I felt was comfortable; grown me
despite my stubbornness;  guided 
me through depression; taught me, 
loved me, humored me, disciplined
me all in the name of His unending
and unimaginable gift of Grace.

my life is beautiful
my life is beautiful
my life is beautiful


Approaching Junior High - Help Me!

May 24, 2011

How did this happen so quickly?  Wasn't she just two years old, with me sitting outside her door every night to be sure she stayed in bed?  Didn't we just put her blankie away because she was a big girl?  And today she hands me registration information for Junior High!  Eek! Do you hear my shallow breathing? The panic rising?  The hair standing straight up on the back of my neck?  I'm not ready!!!

My mind has been in a tail spin for the last several weeks as I face this reality.
I'm worried.
I'm scared.
I'm panicky. 

Have I taught enough?
Have I talked enough?

I've let these feelings run away with me without surrendering it all to my God, who watches over her every move even when I can't.  She and I have lots to talk about this summer in preparation of this next phase of her life.  And I'll need to be on my knees more than ever!

"Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, 
present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6


The Book of Acts - We Are All Preachers

May 23, 2011

Stephen's sermon in Acts 7:2-53 is amazing. He's pulling scripture out of all kinds of Old Testament books in an attempt to show them how they have missed Jesus as the Savior.   I think we tend to forget that during these times the apostles and early christians did not have the written word to study and memorize.  Almost all of their teaching was done orally.  Yes some of it was written, but certainly not widely available.

In order for us to witness today we, like Stephen, must know the story!  We need to have scripture memorized and be ready to tell YOUR story that points back to God.  Be prepared to not only tell the story, but show how we are all a part of the story, God's story.

Are you ready to give an account of your faith?  I Peter reminds us to "always be prepared to give an answer" for the hope you have in Christ Jesus.  You never know when you may be called upon to be a Preacher for a day.  Are you ready?


Hearts at Home Blog Hop - Homemade Recipes

May 19, 2011

I hope you'll join in today with the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Blog Hop.  We're sharing our favorite family homemade recipes.

I thought I'd share a new breakfast creation I've been making and just can't seem to make often enough for me!  Forgive that there are no exact measurements, but you can't mess it up!

For Christmas I got a new electric skillet and I love this thing!  It is not divided, but I can cook two things at once if I need to.

So I start by melting about 1/2 cup of butter in the skillet and then add frozen hashbrowns, whichever kind you prefer.  I like the flavoring of butter instead of oil.  I add some onion, either flakes or fresh, and salt and pepper to your liking.  I like to cook my hashbrowns until they are golden brown.  When the hashbrowns are near ready, on the other side of the skillet, I'll start frying some sausage, either links or ground.  I like both.  Once the sausage is done, if I'm using ground, I combine it with the hash browns.

Then move all that to once side and start some scrambled eggs on the other side.  When I add the egg, I usually put a wooden spoon under the feet of my skillet so it doesn't run into the cooked hashbrowns and make them soft.  After the eggs are cooked, I mixed that into the hashbrowns and sausage.

You could get fancy and add green or red peppers as well, whatever your family enjoys.  I really like this meal and the best part is -- only one pan to wash!!


Book Discussion - Why Christian Kids Rebel - Week 3

Dr. Tim Kimmel is the founder of  Family Matters  and the author of this great book, Why Christian Kids Rebel.  We're on week 3 of our discussions.  I've been doing two chapters at a time, but this week I want to just tackle Chapter 5, Compulsory Christianity.

As I read the pages of this chapter, I quickly realized that this is my biggest fear.  As parents, we feel comfortable that we are individually living out our faith, but our children can also be living out OUR faith, not their own.  As the discussion unfolded about christianity being a family hobby, I began to feel a panic rise up within me.  As my husband and I take part in serving opportunities, our children come with us.  Sometimes they take part, depending on what that service might be.  Other times they may stay home.  But I got the feeling that this could be happening in our family.  Our children are taking part because they really don't have any other choice.  They come with the family to church activities just like we would all go to a day at the pool.  Not exactly the outcome I would be looking for, but a huge eye opener to me.

Dr Kimmel lists several questions on pages 96-98 that can help you discern whether your faith is a hobby or an authentic relationship with Christ.  I liked the list, and it reminded me of many things that I could do better, but I want to know how I can get my kids to that same stage!  When children ride their parent's faith coattails, many cultivate fatal flaws:

  1. Kids don't thing that God is as real as He is.  When we grow up in Christian homes, sometimes we never take that relationship serious, or dig deeper to discover an authentic friendship with Christ.
  2. They don't think Sin is as bad as it is.  We talk about sin in our family, but this really made me think that we as parents have not conveyed how serious it is to our children, and therefore they haven't learned how God feels about sin. We need to do some more serious training here.
  3. They don't think for themselves.  This section was hard to read for any parent!  "Kids need to struggle with their faith.  They need dilemmas that force them to their knees."  Think back to last weeks description of parents, and many of us would fall into the "Rescuer" category on this one.  We don't want our kids to have to suffer.  But suffering brings on more faith and perseverance!
I really needed this chapter, and it has presented me with a lot to think through on how we are approaching "faith teaching" at our house.  I certainly needed the reminder in the closing paragraph that this faith walk for my children is a marathon, not a sprint!

I'll leave you with a couple questions today:  "Has Christ become a hobby to me?"  "Am I more in love with the traditions of my faith than with the Savior of my soul?"


Guide Me Lord

May 18, 2011

Send forth your light and your truth, 
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Psalm 43:3


Thanks Friends!

May 17, 2011

When you miss a few days of posting in the blogging world, you run the risk of losing some readers.  I know that most of you can relate that writing new content every day is a challenge.  Over the winter, blogging was almost a full time job for me, as I spent many hours writing, reading other blogs, tweeting, and the like.  I loved every minute of it, but as spring has emerged, I am finding myself drawn to other hobbies.  The outdoors calls to me every single day once the weather warms up.  Friends know that if I am not answering the phone, they can always find me in my back yard gardening, reading a book, snuggling with the dog, or maybe even on my laptop in the gazebo!

That being said, I hope you will continue to stop by and read when you can.  I can't promise there will be a fresh post up every single day, but I hope you'll understand.  You, my dear friends, who stop in and leave me a comment, encourage me beyond belief.  I love your words and your friendships!

If you're wondering what I'm up to, you can also hop on over to my new gardening blog, My Garden Sweet Garden.  Ive been documenting this season's happenings in my outdoor world. You know if there is a flower in bloom, I'm there to capture it with my camera!

Have a great day!

"live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way"
Colossians 1:10


Book Discussion - Why Christian Kids Rebel - Week 2

May 11, 2011

Dr. Tim Kimmel is the founder of  Family Matters  and the author of this great book, Why Christian Kids Rebel.  Last Thursday we discussed Chapters 1 and 2.  We'll move forward this week with Chapters 3 & 4.  I hope you are reading along and gaining some great perspective.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Chapter 3 - The Prodigal Primer
I'm sure as soon as you read the chapter title that you knew what story would be discussed!  Even though we are all familiar with the story, it is always worth reading again so that the author can bring a fresh perspective to it.

I really enjoyed reading about the four styles of parenting.  I thought they were spot on and I could identify friends in every category!  Did you identify your style?

  1. Clueless -"these are folks who parent more by accident than by intention".
  2. EMT - these parents make a full time job out of rescuing their children from whatever situation they may have gotten themselves into.  They try to shield their children from each and everything that may harm them in the natural progression of life.
  3. Special Forces - Intimidation is used in the household of special forces parents.  They do a lot of yelling to insure everyone knows who the boss is in the family.
  4. Grace-based - Every parent should strive to attain grace based leadership within their home.  This allows a deeper relationship between parents and children.  Discipline is used as a tool to teach and correct, not as punishment.
I was encouraged to find this quote on page 63:  "Rebellion at its core is a determination to do the selfish thing or the reckless thing."  Unfortunately, sometimes these two traits are both present, which creates a really combustible combination for your family. Thankfully, Dr. Kimmel gives us some guidelines for dealing with our rebellious kids:

  1. Avoid feeling guilty-if you've made mistakes in parenting, own up to them and ask forgiveness
  2. Pray pray pray pray pray and pray - kinda self-explanatory huh?
  3. Don't be afraid to let sin takes its course - sometimes the best lessons are learned through the natural consequences of actions (even though it is hard to stand by and watch)
  4. Be careful what you say - remember your words cannot be erased once they are said!
  5. Once they repent, offer forgiveness and restore their status. As Jesus welcomes all sinners into the grace of God, so we should offer that same grace to our children.
 Chapter 4 - A Lesson from the Italian Stallion

Strange to find references to Sylvester Stallone in a book such as this, but I kept reading with interest!  It is a long comparison, so I won't rehash it again here, but I felt the conclusion was right on:  "When our kids don't see genuine passion in us or in our spiritual activities, that lack of passion invalidates everything they are being taught about the true heart of a champion for Christ."  WHOA.  Does that make you stop in your tracks and think?  Our kids don't want to see heartless serving or a "christian to do list" being check off.  They want to see the real deal.  They want to see our authentic relationship with the Living God.

There was some power packed information in these two chapters.  What did you think?  Did any of it make you stop and re-evaluate anything your family is doing?  It sure made me think.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


My Beach Inspired Mantle

Ever since our Spring Break trip to Florida, my mind keeps wandering back to the beach.  Since I live thousands of miles from any beach, I decided to bring a little of the beach into our living room.

If you'd like to see how I made these photo frames, click here for my recent tutorial.

Several of my items came from the dollar store. They are a great place to find cheap stuff to display or alter. That cute little bird was just $1.00! Have fun creating!


Celebrating with my Girls

May 10, 2011

It is such an honor to be God's choice to be the Mother of my three girls.  Mother's Day was a wonderful day! My oldest wasn't able to be home because of finals, and we sure missed her!

 My beautiful handmade teapot!

 My handmade "Queen for the Day" crown.
I sure love my family!


Why Christian Kids Rebel - A Book Discussion Week 1

May 5, 2011

Today we're starting our discussion about the fabulous book Why Christian Kids Rebel by Dr. Tim Kimmel of Family Matters.  Let me say that this book is so full of great information that if we tried to discuss it all, we'd be here for months!  I will try my best to bring out some of what I felt was most informative in the hopes that it has touched you in some way as well.

Chapter 1 - The Sheer Weight of Rebellion
We all know that any kind of rebellion leads to serious consequences.  It hurts us deeply as parents when our child is choosing rebellion, rejecting our value system, losing credibility and remains in bondage to their mistakes.  A rebellious child is blocking God out of their life, their parents annoy them, they claim their family life stinks, they are stubborn, argumentative, aloof and moody.  After that description, we can certainly see why one rebellious child can cause disruptions that ripple through the entire family.

Honestly, when I chose to read this book, I was looking for answers on how I could change my child, or how I could bring them back to our side.  I wasn't ready for Dr. Kimmel's explanation of some of the causes of a rebellious child.  It was eye opening to see that some of those reasons may have stemmed from me.

"Our kids see us as haughty and arrogant and envision themselves as being somewhere far beneath us." pg 9

"Your willingness to acknowledge your own feet of clay is one of the best starting points when it comes to helping your children, especially when they have chosen to embrace an attitude of rebellion." pg 10

Rebellion should point us toward Grace.  It helps us stay focused on God rather than ourselves.  Our children need it the most when it is the most difficult time to give.  But many times in our fear in the depths of this situation, we can inadvertently make it worse by trying to keep moving through the checklist of "good christian behaviors".  We all try to adhere to the list found on page 20 because it is what makes the most sense, but sometimes our children will choose a different path.  But we also need to leave room for God to work.

What did you find in Chapter 1 that was new information to you?

Chapter 2 - An Overdose of  Bad Behavior
I was immediately struck on page 25 with this quote, "Human nature reacts to the moment.  Grace looks for the deeper explanation."  This is so very true.  I know sometimes my initial reactions to mistakes or sins of my children are not grace filled.  I needed this reminder to take a  breath and look deeper inside my child for the real reason for the behavior.  Discovering the reasons behind the behavior can help us to increase our patience and find the specific area to pray about for that child.

Getting to the heart of your child is key.  Their rebellion is simply an "external expression of an internal problem".  Many times this rebellion is immaturity on our children's part in knowing how to handle internal emotional struggles.

Dr. Kimmel lists eight reasons for rebellion:

  1. They don't know Christ personally
  2. They are angry at God
  3. They are mad at their parents
  4. Their personalities are pushed to the extreme
  5. They are in a state of confusion
  6. They are in bondage to sin
  7. It is an essential part of their spiritual pilgrimage
  8. They have flaws with the brand of christianity they are witnessing
As we can see from this list, the rebellion is a symptom of a deeper struggle.  Our job as parents is to gracefully love them through it and provide whatever counsel we can in finding the root of the rebellion.

I'm so thankful that at the end of Chapter 2, Dr. Kimmel promises us advise on how to help our children want to follow Jesus!

Having seen the reasons behind rebellion, has it helped you see deeper into your child's struggle?

I hope you will join us again next Thursday as we tackle Chapters 3 and 4.


Wordless Wednesday

May 4, 2011

Lily of the Valley-my favorite

Wordless Wednesday


Handcrafted Fun with Photo Frames

May 3, 2011

I'm not sure where I got this idea, but it was fun coming up with it.  I was brainstorming ideas for a way to display beach photos for my beach theme mantle {coming soon} and this is what I came up with.  They are so fun!

I started with a spindle that I found in the Husband's garage.  I don't know where he finds this stuff, but I know it didn't come from any project around here!  Anyway.....Husband cut one spindle into three for me on his band saw.  I have no expertise on that saw, so he was very nice to help me out!  I then sanded down each end to make a smooth surface because the frames will then be glued on top.

I had found these three frames in a bundle for 50 cents at a garage sale!  Perfect for my project.  I painted them a sandy taupe color, then went back with a dry brush to add highlights of white, a tiny bit of blue and red.

The spindles were then painted the same color.  The bases you see here I bought at Hobby Lobby to add stability on the bottom.
I was then ready for the wood glue.  It doesn't take very much because this stuff is strong.  You don't want it to ooze out the sides, such use sparingly!  And that's it!  It was fun to add my photos from our Spring Break trip to Florida.  I enlarged them to 8x10s so I could cut them down to the 6x6 size of the frames.

I am so pleased with how they turned out.  Soon I'll reveal what the whole mantle looks like for my beach theme.


The Book of Acts - Repent

May 2, 2011

Acts 3:11-26

As Peter is building the first church here in the book of Acts, you might think that he would be careful about his preaching style and the messages he chooses in an effort to gain supporters and lead people to Christ.  But as we know, Peter is pretty straight to the point and he starts listing off all the reasons the Jews need to repent.  
Those in the temple courts are astounded when they see Peter and John heal a lame man.  Peter is surprised that he has to remind them again of the healing power in Jesus name.  But in so doing, he reminds them all that they were responsible for killing Jesus.  He is relentless in his accusations of their actions that led to the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Sometimes it is easy to blame the Jews for their part in Jesus death.  After all, they led the charge against him.  They asked for Barabas to be released, not Jesus.  The shouted "crucify him, crucify him".

Are we free of the guilt?  Not so fast!  Scripture will tell us that Jesus died for ALL mankind.  That means he covered my sins as well as yours when he died on the cross:

"The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Romans 6:10

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died." II Corinthians 5:14

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." I Peter 3:18

Repent always sounds like a harsh word, but simply put, we must turn toward God, seek His forgiveness,and be covered with the life giving blood of Jesus.  Peace and joy will follow!

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