Friday, December 9, 2016

December Weekly Encouragement and Snapshots!

Mary pondered and treasured!

This week I have been pondering about the Christmas season. Advent teaches us to prepare, to make room for the Savior, for HIS coming. This month I have been doing just that, taking time to read the true Christmas story with my children with the use of the Jesse tree, and reading a Christmas devotion at bedtime. Decorating our house with beautiful lights, ornaments, trees, and the manager, showing where Jesus was born. Lighting Advent candle (which I so love, new tradition). Taking daily time doing my own personal study of Jesus. There are just so many other things that we also do, we bake, make/buy gifts, give gifts, donate time/money so much more this time of year, which is wonderful! However, what about the rest of the year, are we keeping our daily living focused on Jesus and ready for His return? Shouldn't we be? It should be like brushing our teeth, making a meal, preparing for a day...? Daily! Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates., which tells us how our faith and obedience should be and Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." I don't have an answer, just thoughts and wanting to do what is right, but then you know that struggle with my old selfish ways. So why I need Jesus and so thankful to serve and love a God that is forgiving, that gives hope and peace, that provides the daily strength I need for the day, and most important is never changing. It always seems in this world something is changing, there are things that try to take our peace, to distract us, but God, He is sooooo good! Come Lord, Jesus...teach me to live as a child of God, to wait patiently, to live in your peace and strength and not my own, to be brave, to share your truth, to pay attention, live in repentance, be humble and loving to all. AMEN!

Encouraging reads: 
We’re all Charlie Browns, right? We’re all trying to love and serve and lead and give and we wind up making a royal mess out of things more often than not. Yes? I know I do. And so I need to receive grace and give grace to all my fellow Charlie Browns out there. 
Spend time in God's word and let Him love you-- and you love Him back. He came for you. He came to comfort. Let His comfort be yours. You cannot find peace without the Prince of peace. 
Our Advent walk aligns our Advent heart with God’s in a deep inhale of grace for every misstep. Redemption finds us and allows us to exhale praise to our Father. 
The experience of knowing Jesus enriches our hearts and lives completely. In Him, we lack nothing. 
Whatever our current situation, whether stressed, down, or hurting (or anything else!), I love that we are never, never alone. God promises He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). And I especially love that God provides for our emotional needs this time of year through His amazing, living word. 
Thankful to serve and be loved by such a loving, patient, life-giving God. Who is, was and will always be there. Jesus is waiting for you too, in the places sometimes we don't think we will be found!  You are never abandoned in a place to be forgotten — you were placed in this place to be found.

Snapshots of our week:
How was your week readers? We finished up our fall semester of co-op!! We spent family night, Christmas light gawking! Hope we will be able to do it again soon, however the railroad is keeping my hubs working, which is something to be thankful for! Though we miss seeing him! We have been out almost everyday, I am looking forward to not needing to go anywhere today! Tonight, to celebrate Friday, making our own pizzas and watching Charlie Brown Christmas! Here are a few snapshots of our fun this week:
Lego Challenge~Christmas present and Art and Bible lesson day!
Bless this dog he had a really ruff day, tongue half out! 😏
Peace! Jesus is our only continuous hope and peace!
Lego Challenge, Candy Cane!
Painting gingerbread ornament!
Gingerbread train building! Thank goodness for kits!
Gingerbread train decorating!
Gingerbread train decorating and eating decorations!
ChooChoo! Finished train!
Enjoying the fireplace, because it's necessary and it finally works as it should!
Lego Challenge, Snowflake!
We went Christmas light gawking! We love walking around in Grand Rivers, like a magical winter wonderland!
Just a small part of all the lights at Grand Rivers!

Singing with the carolers!
Black and White!
Excited boy visiting Santa!
Abigail wasn't to sure at first!
Santaaaaaaaa, I know him!
Loved the pretty trees and love these crazy kids!
Hot chocolate season!!
Lego Challenge, sleigh!
Made these pretties for a sweet friend!
Finally finished our snowflakes! Let it SNOW!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Weekly encouragement and snapshots~December is here!!

Remember to look for God!
Happy December!! We are excited over here with it being Advent season! We started our Jesse tree this week, reading through Christmas devotion and children's Christmas books. We started a fun little challenge in the morning to start our school day, a Christmas Lego Challenge! It has been fun seeing what the kids come up with, great way to use their imagination! We finished up week 16 of school! We will tackle two more weeks before Christmas break!
I am excited to share with you, I have been chosen to be on the TOS Homeschool Review Crew! I applied a couple months ago, wasn't sure if I really wanted to at the time, but thought I take some time to ponder and pray about. I am glad I did apply and that they did accept me! I am excited to learn about, try different curriculum, and share them with others. Along with meeting some new people and learning new things! Plus it ties in with my love of book reviews!
Today I am thankful it is family movie and pizza night, so ready to relax and watch some Christmas movies! I think this week will be, Elf! Needing something funny, as my heart has been a bit heavy this week with sadness in the news and some friends struggling. This season can sometimes bring about memories, that bring sadness. Keeping it short this week! Trying to soak in Christmas and be a little more still! Much love and blessings to all!!

Today is the last day to enter in for a chance to win Amy Grant's, Tennessee Christmas CD 

Encouraging reads: 
How do we keep our hearts focused on Christ in all the clamor and noise? 
So relate, how many times I have over-analyzed, waited for the perfect moment or trying to make things perfect....but this is what we need..."ALL we really need is to accept Jesus’ invitation to COME". 
Worship requires submission and admission that God is greater and worthy of anything and everything, and that’s a little scarier than service. 
God restores, Jesus gets the chaos and mess and came to save us. So needed these message… 
God shapes us through suffering. God hones us when the world threatens to break apart. Will we distract ourselves in the process, or will we lean into the pain and brokenness? Will we offer up the pain of the world as our very feeble offering to a God who sees? The good news of the waiting — the good news of Advent — is that God comes near. It just may look like nothing you expected.
The very best you can do with your life is build a life with Hope.
"Hope is the thing with wings
that lands at the end of you
and shows you how to open to possibilities
so you never close again."

Snapshots of our week:
Just Batman!
Having fun making ornaments at the Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee!
Having fun making items at the Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee!
All our home-made ornaments and bird treats!
Hope~Advent Candle
My family of deer came up for a front door visit one morning this week! They knew my hubs was gone working!
Lego Challenge~Christmas Tree
Lego Challenge~Christmas Stocking
Lego Challenge~Wreath
Lego Challenge~Santa Hat
Our Jesse Tree ornament for December 1st~The Branch From Jesse~Isaiah 11:1-2
Advent gift! New tradition, a book to kick off our Advent season!
Opening up her Advent gift!
I got our Christmas cards done!! Oh Holy Night!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tennessee Christmas CD by Amy Grant ~ review with give-away!

A couple days ago I received in the mail a CD to review and share with y'all!! I love the title, Tennessee Christmas, because it is perfect, since we live in Tennessee! This will be our 2nd year celebrating Christmas in Tennessee. The children and I listened to this on our drives into town the last couple days. Her music reminds me of times at my grandma's house for Christmas and some of the records she played (yes, records!). Lots of great traditional Christmas songs on this CD! Some of my favorites are Baby, It's Cold Outside and O'Come, All Ye Faithful. The song Christmas For You and Me, could be a song I write (if I did write songs) "It's five in the morning the kids are awake, It's Christmas for heaven's sake, Pour a cup of coffee and we'll light up the tree, It's Christmas for everybody..."
The song on the CD~Tennessee Christmas was first recorded by Amy Grant in 1983 when she was 22 years old at the time and 33 years later she is still singing this song!

So for some fun....They are asking for fans to upload any videos they may have of them surprising loved ones for the holidays to social media. So readers post these to socials using the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise! They’ll be making a compilation video and posting it to Amy Grant’s socials – this specific video has not been announced yet though.

Those chosen will be part of a compilation video that Amy Grant herself will share on her large social media outlets!!!

I also have a give-away of one CD for one reader. So do the usual if you want in, like the comment or share a comment about your favorite Christmas song on any of my social medial posting or right here on the blog. The last day to enter is Friday, December 2, 2016. Continental U.S. residence only please.

Social – corner 

“To Be Together” Audio on Youtube: 

Official Hashtags:  #TennesseeChristmas and #flyby @flybypromotions)

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Preparing, counting blessings, weekly encouragement and snapshots!
Yesterday as you know was Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for this past year. It was wonderful having the husband home to celebrate Thanksgiving (which is rarity due to his job) and having our neighbor over for a delicious Thanksgiving meal! I sometimes miss spending time with all of my family, but through the distance and the years, I have come to be thankful for our new traditions, the friends and neighbors we have met during the last 13 years of living afar from our family.

As I was pondering on what Thanksgiving meant to me, I am so grateful for this month of November to remind me the importance of counting my blessings and to be thankful in all things. The kids finished their 12 day count-down to Thanksgiving and I finished 24 days of counting my blessings by posting a picture on Instagram each day and journaling. I am finding that it is the simple everyday ordinary things that are of most importance in our daily living. Yes, I am thankful for the big things, but I want to live moment by moment, not rushing, noticing God in the little things, finding everyday beauty in the ordinary mundane, learning lessons and growing in faith! Most important, none of those things would be possible if it wasn't for the sacrifice Jesus made for me (and you), to provide me the grace I need, which is usually daily!
Now we are just a couple days away from the start of Advent season and it seems Christmas is already in full swing by looking at my calendar and the things to be done. So now I am ready to focus on quiet and awaiting on the Lord Jesus. I want to remember not to rush through this season and get caught up in the things that distract me from what is important. I need to have my heart right and my focus right. I desire to be still, not frantic, to be at peace, not stressed. So today, we prepare our Christmas books, finish up cards, and prepare our Jesse Tree. Today I will set boundaries and remove things that distract me. What that all entails yet, I do not know, but I know with the Lord leading all will be good. If I end up stumbling, I know HE will pick me up. So thankful for this time of wonder and this season of giving and preparing the way for the Lord to shine through it all. O' Come Let Us Adore Him!

Weekly encouragement:
Dear friends…I know it’s loud out there. I know there is differing opinion and things look confusing. But none of this matters as much as this: at this moment, does Jesus have you? Does He have me?
Thank God, trusting pilgrims that we are 
This is awesome, do good… 
Advent isn’t a spiritual, alternative name for ‘Christmas’; it is its own season, a season of preparation for Christmas. Advent is when the anticipated joy of Christ’s first arrival puts us touch with our anticipated joy at His return.  Advent is a joy that helps us hope. 
When our chaos reigns, Christ does not and we lose sight of what we are living for, the coming of Holy again. And dear hearts, Holy is coming again.
Weekly snapshots:
The cold front moved in, along with some much needed rain. Great night for cuddling under blankets and movies!
Thankful for this Bible given to me 14 years ago, life changing!
These two are entering a contest at CN Railroad about what Christmas means to them. Thankful for my husbands job and company he works for!
Chilly frosting morning, thankful for heat!
How cool, Usborne-Shine-A-Light books in the children's meals at Chic-fil-A!
Put our tree up Tuesday, thankful for the hand me down tree, many home-made ornaments and ornaments received as gifts! Lots of memories in this Christmas tree!
Caught this girl late night reading! Book-worm!
Paining snowflakes with my littles, fun and messy!
Finished Thanksgiving count-down and our Thanksgiving tree!
My hubby home on Thanksgiving, he has my heart and soon the Christmas lights will all be up! Falalalala!!
Pie time! Pumpkin pie and pecan pie!
Oh Christmas lights, how you make me happy!
This seasons Christmas books and couple DVDs for our family!
My personal reading for Advent.
Made a few more prayer beads and prayer strands. It is a blessing to make these and pray over them to those that receive them, for more info go to this link here: