Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekly encouragement, books, and snapshots!

This week has been a whirl-wind kind of week, but all is good! Why, because God is always good!! This was the week my hubs had two days off, which we try to take advantage of when he is home. Though we also still had responsibilities to take care. Life can be just draining sometimes, so why I need Jesus!
We finished week 29 of school this week!! We are celebrating today with some cinnamon rolls! Abigail has been working the last few weeks on memorizing Psalm 121, and while she has been learning it, it has become scripture that has spoke much to my heart. What a reminder of the power of God's Word ~ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.~Titus 3:16-17
Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Aidan started piano this week, he wasn't excited at first, but after he got his books he couldn't wait to have lessons with Mrs. Rachel!! I can't wait to see Abigail and him play together! Abigail learned a new skill this week, a sweet friend took her time to share knitting with her! I may have to try to learn again, maybe I will have more patience for it this time. What I am learning through this all, is may we all never stop learning and preserver through the days that challenge us and most important may we remember Christ in all things!

I have been reading some really good books lately and finished up some recently:
  • All Is Grace by Brennan Manning~a worthwhile memoir, a beautiful messy story, teaches the need of grace. I consider myself more messy then beautiful most days, so it is a positive!
  • Finding Spiritual Whitespace~Awakening Your Soul To Rest by Bonnie Gray~if you have experience a trauma in your life this book is a must read. P.S. she has a new book coming out in a couple months I can't wait to share with you!!
  • Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Mills~this book is coming out soon, so much wisdom in this book, will be sharing a review at the end of April
  • Grace Based Discipline by Kris Kimmel Murray ~one parenting book I enjoyed, not many out there, this has lots of Biblical wisdom for disciplining and giving grace a good balance and the humor is great too
  • Prayer by A.W. Tozer~recently reviewed a book that provides lots of Biblical wisdom about prayer and what it looks like
  • Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola~a homeschool read, I recommend it to those interested in Charlotte Mason style of education. I consider us to be part Charlotte Mason and part Classical and a mix-mosh of our own style. 
  • Falling Free by Shannon Martin~I started this last week and am almost finished, it is wrecking me but in a good way, a worthy read! Get it! I will share more when I am done...

Encouraging Reads:

Only as we die to self can much then be produced in our lives.
I want to do big things! And I want to do them now!
As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in the tension of grace and truth.

‘Real’ ministry is here and now. It’s not ten years down the road, it’s not ten minutes down the road. It’s right where I am. The real question is, what will I do with the ministry He’s given?
Some thoughts to ponder on and a book to add to my list

This week I am counting many blessings, so important to look for God's truth, beauty, and goodness in all we do.
Snapshots of our week:

This week we started week 4 of Final Days of Jesus. I have been adding to my cover which at first felt intimidating to create, but using it as a place to put the words the Lord lays on my heart through this study. What a great reminder of what God has done and is doing through this one area of my life, now I need to do, love, walk! So thankful for Jesus, my light, protector, strength, my salvation!
Last Friday was St. Patrick's day, so with our pizza and movie night we needed a special snack!
These two and their imaginations crack me up, I should feel safe right!! LOL
Happy first day of spring on Monday! My little chicken helpers. Chickens have been a blessing for our family! Teaches the kids responsibility and we get fresh eggs!! We made egg salad for on the first day of Spring to celebrate!
Mama come watch me ride my bike, he said! Well of course son, I love too! It's the simple things!
Abigail made a picture for first day of Spring and what it means to her.
Fishing with daddy one morning this week she caught herself some lunch! 😉
This girl learned a new hobby from a friend! She is loving it! Knitting!

Birthday presents have started arriving for someone's upcoming birthday!
Aidan was so excited after his first lesson. He came home to show daddy!
Beautiful evening for a little fishing! My little fishers 💕
A homeschoolers happy mail, homeschool catalogs are arriving, this is mainly what we use! Sonlight! I am so excited with the changes they have made for the new year!!
➽📓Linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up   and Fresh Market Friday

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Me-centered vs. God-centered

A message I have read, heard twice, and been praying about over the week...why do we not do the things we ought to do? What holds us back from surrendering and doing God's will? Is it fear, that might be the reason, and at times it has been for me. However, for me and maybe many others, it is because we are often times me-centered, and not God-centered. Ouch! We believers get caught up in the world's teachings, instead of our Savior Jesus's teaching. We get focused on ourselves, our safety, comfort, security, future, our plans, etc... We need to ask should we be doing more to help God's kingdom, to help those in need? God doesn't need us, but we should want to do for HIM, because HE first loved us and we love Him (1 John 4:19)! I apologize if this may not be the most encouraging post, but it can be if we want what our Lord wants, and we should, right? Jesus first and second commands Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30–32 Matthew 22:37–39). God wants us. From that we ought to want to do, love, and walk with HIM (Micah 6:8). When we fully surrender to God, we will truly live an abundant life here on earth! 
Alas, I am not living this 100%, but I desire to. So why I am in need of Jesus and thankful for HIS grace. I ask you to please join in prayer for this very thing, Lord God, help me to walk obediently to Your calling and not hold back, and let me walk it! AMEN!

A song that has also been on repeat, which is soul penetrating is Kari Jobe's~The Cause of Christ! It has a powerful message, one I want to live fully!

The only thing I want in life is to be known for loving Christ to build His church
To love His bride
And make His name known far and wide
For this cause I live
For this cause I'd die
I surrender all
For the cause of Christ
All I once held dear
I will leave behind
For my joy is this
Oh the cause of Christ
He is all my soul will prize
Regardless of the joy or trial
When agonizing questions rise
In Jesus all my hope abides
For this cause I live
For this cause I'd die
I surrender all
For the cause of Christ
All I once held dear
I will leave behind
For my joy is this
Oh the cause of Christ
Jesus my Jesus
For Your glory for Your name
Jesus my Jesus
I will only sing Your praise
For this cause I live
For this cause I'd die
I surrender all
For the cause of Christ
All I once held dear
I will leave behind
For my joy is this
Oh the cause of Christ
It is not fame that I desire
Nor stature in my brother's eye
I pray it's said about my life
That I lived more to build Your name than mine

It's Wednesday, mid week! Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up 💕 and
From Messes to Messages  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

JESUS~The Life and Ministry of God the Son-Collected insights from A.W. Tozer~Review

Thankful for Moody Publishers for allowing me to review this book, JESUS~The Life and Ministry of God the Son-Collected insights from A.W. Tozer. I always find Tozer's writings thought provoking and relative to today's world, even though he died about 55 years ago. This book is about our Savior Jesus. It is no quick read, actually a book I will go back and reread again, so I can take time to do the reflection questions that are at the end of each chapter. Tozer shares Biblical details and wisdom that will get you thinking at a deeper level on who Jesus is and why HE came to earth. This is no fluff read. If you really want to know Jesus more you will find this book helpful. Which I ask, who wouldn't, HE is after all, Lord of all, the center of all things and HE came for each of us!

Here are a few quotes I hi-lighted and there are many:
"It is important for us to understand that God, being one in His nature, is always able to say the same thing to everyone who hears Him. He does not have two different messages about grace or love or justice or holiness. Whether it be from the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit, the revelation will always be the same."

Some say, they would like to have lived in the time of Christ. Why? There were hypocrites and Pharisees, and opposers, murderers, and unbelievers in the time of Christ! You would not have found things any better two thousand years ago. Some of you who look back with nostalgia upon what you consider the good old days ought to be delivered from that!"

"Christ is at the center of all cultural levels...So, Jesus Christ stands in the middle of the human race, at the center of geography, the central figure in time, and in the midst of all cultures. Our Lord is at the center of all life's experiences!"

"When Jesus was on earth, He was not the passive, colorless, spineless person He is sometimes made out to be in paintings and literature. He was a strong man, a man of iron will. He was able to love with an intensity of love that burned Him up. He was able to hate with the strongest degree of hatred against everything that was wrong and evil and selfish and sinful."

"Mankind is still inventing new ways of self-treatment and medication for failures and weaknesses and wrongdoing, even in our day, not recognizing that the cure has already come....But, really, all Christianity offers is Jesus Christ the Lord, and Him alone-for He is enough! Your relation to Jesus Christ is really the all-important matter in this life. That is both good news and bad news. It is good news for all who have met our Savior and know Him intimately and personally. It is bad news for those who hope to get into heaven some other way!" 

If you are a skeptic, a new believer, or have been a Christian for a while, don't miss out on having a deep relationship with Jesus Christ! Tozer says we are in spiritual trouble if we do not recognize the presence of Christ!

For more details of this book go to Moody Publishers

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Moody Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. My opinions and review are my own.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Weekly encouragement and snapshots, mid March!

Hello peeps, I hope you all have had a wonderful blessed week! There is always something to be thankful for! We finished week 28 of school this week and it was the week our co-op gets together for classes, whoohoo!! Today is FRIDAY, so that right there is reason enough to celebrate for most people, if you have a regular week-day job, though we at our household do not know what that is like. However, we still celebrate Fridays with a special breakfast, pizza and movie night!! It makes for great memories and fun traditions! I hope you all find something to celebrate this week, even if it is just surviving the time change! Feel free to share what you do for mini celebrations and if you don't, now is the time to start! I started finding ways to celebrate and make fun traditions after reading Sally Clarkson's book, I loved the message of that book and the whys.

Last week was break week for us, so it was a little tough getting back into the routine on Monday. However, I do think we thrive best in routines, it keeps us moving forward as we know what is coming next. Though there is always something that comes up that isn't expected (many times these are God opportunities or lessons), so that is when we need to learn to adjust with grace (not always easy). Little man, started back doing swim lessons this week, so that added an extra trip onto our Wednesdays. We gave him a little incentive if he can master some basic swim techniques, we will go to the big water park this summer. Next week, he will start piano lessons. I am interested to see how this goes with two of them learning to play the piano. I am glad Abigail has completed two years of piano already, so she can help him with his practice. This mama knows none! Next week Abigail is excited to have a friend of mine start teaching her knitting. I am so thankful for friends that have these gifts and their willingness to share their time and gifts. Abigail has been wanting to learn and I have tried myself to learn, but I just can't get it. I think I just don't have the patience for it, probably because my patience bucket is empty by that time to learn something new like that for myself, so I will just keep to my love of reading, it's my hobby of choice! 😉 Also, I enjoy the blogging world and being a part of it. I shared my story this week on my blog, it wasn't easy, I was full off nerves, but God has been laying it on my heart to share it. If you missed it and want to know how I got to where I am, feel free to check it out, I definitely would not be where I am at if it wasn't for my Lord and Savior! I hope it encourages someone else to share their story or take that step in getting to know Jesus, it is life changing, the best decision you will ever make in your life!!

Here are some encouraging/thought provoking reads of the week for me:
But I dare you, I beg you to here this truth:  your normal isn’t the world’s normal and the greatest deception is that you believe that it is.
Read-aloud benefits for mom 
For those of us who know and love Jesus Christ, we understand that a daily relationship with Him is the only way to the rich, full life that we all long for. Allowing God’s view of us to shape our self-perception is the key to authentic confidence. Imagine how different our world would be if we could teach our kids this kind of godly confidence! Wow.
Yet Motherhood itself is a craft. We wake each morning with the opportunity to form and fashion our day. We can sketch out a schedule, add a splash of color here and there with a fun read-aloud and then stand back and decide if we are pleased with the composition before we rise to paint again the following day. We may be the type of artist who colors inside the lines or we may scribble around but the form and expression are ours to control for we are the mother and our days have the opportunity to be great masterpieces if we apply the time and artistry in requires to fashion a lovely one. 
It is not about me. The truth of it all is I’m both scared and relieved when I realize I’m not enough. I’m scared because really people (most of them little people) are relying on me to make good decisions and be a good mother. I’m also relieved because I don’t have to be enough. God is writing my story, and I’m not at the center. If I can remember that in my daily life I would do better to stop doubting.

Weekly snapshots:
Another pic of our winter wonderland from last Saturday! Watching some geese!
Working on building their snowman!
Peter-cat, comes in daily for a cat-nap! Usually he goes to Abigail's room, but we were all in the living room, so he joined us.
By the next day our snow was gone, but then we had a few flurries Monday morning during our reading time.
When your son wants a picture with his mama. Blessed mama!
Building with magformers!
Watch for this upcoming book review soon, it is a great read! I enjoy reading anything by Tozer, a wise brilliant godly man.  Always thought-provoking and deep!
Happy Mail this week, my 2017-2018 homeschool planner arrived!!

➽📓Linking up with Weekly Wrap-Up   and Fresh Market Friday

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Are you a Christian? I don't know, but here is my story....

I recently came upon a memory I wrote from a few years ago through my memories on Facebook (one of those features I like about FB) and I read it and I thought I am so thankful for Jesus and the hope HE gives, for hearing me, and the strength from the Lord who covers my weaknesses (Phil 4:13, 2 Cor. 12:9-10)!

Then I felt as though God say to me, share your story, how did you get to this point. I am sure many of you think I have been a Christian since I was a young girl, but that is absolutely not true. I knew of God, I believed in God, but in no way did it qualify me as a Christian from God's Word (or would it get me into heaven). I think that many people out there are walking around thinking they are; but they don't know the real Jesus, and that breaks my heart! I know I didn't and that was where my struggle was. I have only been a Christian for less than a third of my life, not even half. I was baptized as a baby, I had my first communion at sixish, I attended CC classes on Wednesday mornings before school started until 8th grade (that was at a time the schools allowed us to go to our churches to attend class), I was married in a church, I have gone to church for funerals and weddings. I even recall praying a few times when I was scared or worried, or at holiday meals. But none of those made me a Christian. It took me having my heart-torn apart and feeling like I had nothing, that I started searching for why and what?

I am so thankful for my grandma who took me to church and introduced me to her pastor. My grandma bought me a Bible and I started meeting with the pastor one-on-one, and we went through the Bible. He shared with me, who Jesus was. That was the first time I ever had a Bible or read a Bible. You see those classes I attended when I was young, did not teach me to read the Bible or have a need for one, we used a book. I learned a lot, also had to relearn some things I was taught that were not right (even though I thought they were). After almost half a year of meeting with the pastor, I made the decision to accept the Lord Jesus as my savior. Now, I didn't wake up the next day and everything was perfect! That isn't how it works (remember Jesus said we would have troubles in this world~John 16:33). However, I did feel I had hope, that I was totally loved, I didn't have to worry, that I can live in peace here, all because of Jesus! Now, do not think for one second I have this Christian thing all figured out. I still worry from time to time, have trouble at times with feeling peace, struggle with impatience, get upset, and make bad decisions. But God, is transforming me, and I have been forgiven. This transformation process started out slowly for me, but God had a plan and always does.

Shortly after being saved, I started helping out in youth ministry and studying my Bible on my own, but still didn't attend church much. I felt I didn't really need it, I was good on my own so to say. Then I married my husband and we moved out of state. Life changed greatly, new surroundings, culture change (yes moving from a small Minnesota farm town to Houston is a culture change), no family, no friends, no career, and a husband who worked a lot. Yes eventually I made friends and got a job. But it was a few years before I got back into church. It seemed like God just ripped all the things that I felt I needed, things of comfort, but what I see now, is how much it grew me. God was making me go through a transformation and HE still is transforming me. I tried a few times to attend church, but it was so awkward going by myself, so I gave up. After I had my daughter, we moved once again (oh and several times before that too) to a small town in Texas. In walking distance was a church. I met a woman, who became a friend, and was invited to MOPS. It was just what this mama needed. God put me in a circle of Christian women, my faith took off in leaps it felt. I started attending church regularly, I got involved, I was asked to be on staff at the church. I tell you that was the best couple years of living in Texas, I was ready to call this place home! But God, again had another plan. We ended up in Kentucky! I know what you are thinking because I was, what is in Kentucky? Well let me tell you there are some awesome people their! God put us in a Baptist church when we moved there, it was a church again in walking distance. I went in to ask about AWANA for my daughter with no intentions on attending that church, but you know God He can sometimes be funny (that is a story for another day)! So yes, we joined church their. God led me to start a mom ministry, because there were none in that area. However even greater than that God led me to get baptized. You see when I accepted Jesus 16 years ago, I never got baptized, that wasn't something the church I attended didn't practice. However, after reading the Bible about it and praying, I knew it was the right thing to do! Even better than that, a couple years after that my daughter and husband followed through. Let me tell you this journey of faith, has been a wild ride at times. There have been times I didn't follow God closely or believe HIM, but HE never gave up on me.

I am so thankful to God for my grandma for taking the first step to get me their. For the church for taking me in and helping me to grow. For my husband, for putting up with me and who works a lot of crazy hours where it is hard for him to be at church, without his sacrifice, I am not sure I would have come to rely so much on God, the church, and see the need to raise our children in God's way. For the pastors and churches I have been a part of, for the women who have reached out to me and become my friends or mentors. The story is not done yet, we moved to Tennessee not too long ago and now a new chapter has began in my story. I already see God working and am thankful that HE placed us in a wonderful homeschool co-op and church, moved us by wonderful neighbors, and we are making some great friends.

So I share this story with you, I know it is a bit of a long read, so if you are still reading, I encourage you to share your story. Stories help encourage others and who knows what your story may mean to someone. They may say, me too, I thought I was the only one. I still struggle but when we are open and honest with another it will make a difference. God doesn't want us doing life alone, especially us Christians. If you are not sure you are a Christian I encourage you to seek out someone that reads their Bible and is following Jesus. I encourage you to pray to God (prayer is powerful), I encourage you to seek out a community of believers, and be a part of the church where you are (particularly a Bible teaching church)! I encourage you to not give up on your faith! If you don't know who or don't have someone, reach out to me. It would be a blessing to pray with you.
"In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way HE gave himself for us-totally, and without reservation." Oswald Chambers
~When you have JESUS you have everything. JESUS is enough!! 

It's Wednesday, mid week! Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up 💕 and
From Messes to Messages