Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maxi Styles

I don't own even one maxi dress. I am only about 5'4"  and don't feel quite tall enough to pull it off. After looking at these though, I think I may change my mind.

This collage of dresses I could see my daughter wearing.

Left -

The next three are ones I would feel comfortable wearing.

Black dress-

There are always so many cute summer wedges.

Peach shoes-  Black and white striped -
Lace Wedge- Lucky Brand, Macys

I love these two pair for myself.

Left -   Right- Lauren Conrad- Kohls

Lastly, a pretty summer necklace is always fun to wear.

I love monogrammed necklaces. This one is from Bauble Bar.

 The next two are so colorful!

Left- Kendra Scott     Right- Stella and Dot

What fashions are you wanting to try?

Linking up to:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Happy End of April to you!

I'm linking up with these girls for

to discuss these things...

We (and by we, I mean at least three of us) have been eating a lot of these wonderful things.

Roasted brussel sprouts. Just trim the sprouts, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a little sea salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. They are delicious.

My husband just celebrated a birthday yesterday. I was gathering a lot of photos for a slide show at our church and reminiscing quite a bit.

This was 1989 (some of you hadn't been born yet, I know!)

This was taken in 2006. We have had seven children in all. Our daughter that is in a wheelchair on the right, was one of twins. Her brother, Alex, went to be with the Lord in 1996 at the age of four.

Here are my kids today:

What I've been dreading?  Hmm...our youngest son has surgery #3 in June. I know that he will be okay, but I don't look forward to the whole process. The doctor thinks that the recovery time will be much faster this time (He is having inner ear surgery. The first two surgeries were to remove a growth that had done some damage inside).

What I've Been Loving -  I have been loving seeing all the new babies out in blogland. I really, really love seeing baby photos and cute kid photos. It just never gets old to me.

What I've Been Up to - I keep a list of "things to do" and have been steadily marking them off my list. I am currently pinning a lot of ideas for our daughter's high school graduation party. If you looked at my pins, you would probably think I was planning a wedding and not a small gathering! But I love prettiness like this:

What I'm Excited About!  We are planning to take our daughter to NYC this fall for her graduation gift. I was there for the first time last year for our 25th anniversary and just loved it. I can't wait to walk the streets of New York with my girl.

What I'm Watching/Reading -  Right now, I'm reading a book on our Kindle called, "Tisha, The Story of a Young Teacher" by Robert Specht. If you've ever read "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, you would like this one, too. They are very similar.

What I'm Listening To -  I don't often listen to music around the house, but this past weekend, my kids and I listened to Frank Sinatra sing, "New York, New York" while driving home:) It put us all in a good mood.

What I've Been Wearing - I wear this watch all the time. It was a gift from my son.

What I'm Doing This Weekend - My husband is gone on a missions trip, so I will be holding down the fort until he gets back.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month - I look forward to eating my mom's blackberry cobbler!

What Else is New - I went to see The Lion King last night! The artistry was beautiful. My son and I sat next to a lady with a baby. She was an angel. She quietly looked around and then slept through the whole show. What a brave mama!

All of you sweet young moms are doing such an important job. Keep up the good work. Everything you are investing now in your little ones will not go to waste. You have the most important job in the world. Bless you!

Linking up to:

Friday, April 17, 2015

This Time of Life

My littlest son and my oldest son from 2009.
I seem to have begun a new journey. I don't know if it is officially perimenopause or menopause, but whichever it is, I don't think I'm ready!

I can be sitting in an air conditioned room feeling just fine, when suddenly it feels like I am at 212 degrees. I am on fire! It lasts about 30 seconds and then it is gone - hence the name, hot flash. It happens throughout the day. Thankfully, I haven't experienced anything more severe than that.

Except that I could sport a real nice mustache (or is is moustache?)  if I were interested. Yea, I'm not.

But the real reason I'm not ready is this.

When I go to the grocery store, there isn't a little one to put in the front of the cart anymore. He is nine years old and now just walks alongside me.

I walk past the girl department at Target now and instead go to the Junior Department with my daughter. But wait, didn't we shop in that girl department just a few days ago?

No more baby food. No more diapers. No more maternity clothes for me.

No more Little Mermaid underwear.

No more Mickey Mouse underwear.

No more Toy Story pajamas.

No more sippy cups.

But wait...I'm not ready.

Don't you want to watch Bubble Guppies?

Now my littlest girl is about to graduate.

But wait...she's my little girl. Won't she be working on her school work in the dining room anymore?

Wasn't it just the other day that she was in her ballerina dress twirling in the kitchen?

Can time please slow down? I'm not ready.

Now there are big people shoes in the downstairs closets. Where did the little people shoes go?

When my 15 year old son sits beside me, I notice his feet. I remember when he was three and I used to laugh at his little, yet wide feet. I used to call them Fred Flintstone feet. Where did those go?

I was so proud of him when he was four and insisted on taking his training wheels off his little bike. We were doubtful, but Dave took them off. He hopped on and began riding and never looked back.

My oldest son had to grow up so fast when our twins were born. He and I used to drive to a nearby town together when the twins were little and go to Burger King and Walmart together. He was the best company and we had so much fun together. He still takes care of his little brothers and sisters. He is the best son.

Our second oldest son is the one I used to carry around in the trailer at Teen Challenge and sing the most goofy, made- up songs to. I can still see him in his diaper as I held him and sang to him in our kitchen.

Wasn't it just the other day that I used to get our oldest daughter ready and put on the school bus? She and I would walk out to the street in front of our house when it was still dark outside. I would watch her drive away and pray that she would have a good day.

But thankfully, thankfully, we had one more little baby when I was 42 years old. I'm a lot older than a lot of ladies who have a nine year old. But I am so THANKFUL. God was so good to give me one more. He knew I would need one more.

He may not fit in the shopping cart anymore. But he still holds my hand. He still likes to sit close to me and watch a movie. He's still my back seat buddy when we have to go somewhere.

I don't like change very much. It is kind of hard to see myself about to go through this big change that is occurring.

But I know that God is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.

Don't wish for time to go faster. Don't wish away your life. Enjoy your day to day life with your little ones. Hold their hands and be in the present. Look at their chunky little legs and their dimpled little hands and enjoy.

Someday I will have grandkids and then I will get to experience this wonder all over again.

I can't wait!

Linking up to:

Friday, March 20, 2015

When It Feels Like God Isn't Hearing Your Prayers

Courtesy Pinterest

I woke up this morning after a night of tossing and turning. During the night, I was trying to figure out solutions to several problems. I know that I am supposed to give these things to God, but at times, God can seem distant. I know that is only my perception and there is no "correctness" to that statement at all. Our feelings can be very fickle.

 As I was going about my morning, I even said to God, "Do you hear me? I know You are there, but I can't seem to know it. I am really concerned about these things." I didn't hear anything back in response, but a thought came to me suddenly. I started thinking about a Bible story where David sees King Saul and his soldiers lying on the ground sleeping.  David could have easily killed King Saul that night, but he refused to touch God's annointed... even though Saul had made it clear that he wanted to kill David and probably would have had the roles been reversed.  Even after the prompting of David's friend to go ahead and take the opportunity to kill Saul, David refused. There is so much to explore in that story.

But for some reason, in my mind, I was focused on the sleeping soldiers. My prayers suddenly shifted as I thought of young women and men caught in human trafficking. I started praying and declaring that God would send a deep sleep to their captors, that there would be confusion in their ranks, and that there would be opportunities for their escape. Just like that, the whole clouded atmosphere in my mind changed. I definitely felt power in my prayers and knew that God had heard me.

My other concerns? I still have them, but it is obvious to me that God wanted me to pray what was also dear to His heart right then. He knows what concerns me. He isn't indifferent. But this morning, this is what was on God's heart.

If  the atmosphere in your home or in your mind seems troubled, ask God today what is on His heart and begin to speak out in prayer what you want to see happen in those areas. Sometimes I also have to say out loud, "God is kind. God is faithful.  He will never leave me. No matter what I feel like today, He is here watching over me and my family." Don't let your feelings sweep you away. We are all prone to allowing our feelings dictate our lives.

God will answer my prayers and give me direction. But in the meantime, I'm glad that He asks us to pray what is on His heart:)

A Friday Favorite today is...the first day of Spring! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Favorite Things in March

Happy Saturday morning!

We have had beautiful weather this past week. I don't know if it is here to stay yet because after all, I live in Iowa where we had snow in May two years ago! But I'll take it for as long as it is here. Actually, my daughter and I were talking how we will miss the snowed in days with the fire flickering in the fireplace and a good movie. Every season has its good points, I guess.

A few favorites that come to mind for this month are:

1. Reading. I love to read, but have a hard time finding the time! This book came in the mail last week. (You know what's really neat? I think I won it! There is no other explanation since I didn't order it yet.)

If you read Sophie's blog, Boo Mama, then you will love her book. I'm only in about the fourth chapter and it is very good so far. She has a way of writing that speaks to the heart. Here's a little summary:

This nostalgic celebration of home is sure to make even those north of the Mason-Dixon line long to settle in on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and reflect on all of the people in our lives who—related or not—have come to represent home. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the address on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the people who live and laugh and love there, wherever there might happen to be.   - (Amazon)

Melanie Shankle, The Big Mama Blog, also has a new book about to come out. I loved her first two books. I was sitting in our living room all alone when I read her second book, The Antelope in the Living Room, and I burst out laughing several times. It's worth the price of the book to read the chapter about her husband officiating at a wedding service while on painkillers.  Her new book is:

I can't wait!

Another book I have on request at the library is:

Julia Child's life is so intriguing to me. After watching the movie, Julie and Julia, I wanted to know more about her and her life. I remember visiting the Smithsonian in D.C. and looking at her kitchen that they have on display there, but at that time, I didn't know much about her. I don't think I'll ever cook all her recipes from her famous cookbook the way Julie Powell did, but I thought it would be fun to pick five recipes and try them out on the family, or see if my daughter would like to do it to count towards a class credit?

2. I blogged some time back about one of my favorite movies of all time- Slumdog Millionaire. That movie changed me! All I can say is that God can use a movie to speak something profound to your heart.  I need to re-watch it and write about it all over again. But ever since that time, I've loved the actor who played Jamal. So, of course I'd love to see this movie.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Dev Patel)

3.  After finishing this season of Downton Abbey, my daughters and I have been watching the other seasons again. 

We still miss Matthew and Sybil and wish their characters hadn't left the show, but I loved the ending this season with Mrs. Hughes and Carson.

4. This cute Easter banner at Target is only $5!

5.  Finally, speaking of Target, I saw this recently and I could so relate. If you love Target too, then you'll know what I mean.

No matter what may be going on in your life today, know that God is with you. He hears you, He sees you, and He loves you.

Happy Spring to you!!

Linking up to:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Your Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways - Meet Jamey Beck

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Jamey Beck.

I believe I first met Jamey about a year ago at our church. She is such a beautiful young mom with a precious family. You would never guess by looking that she and her husband had been through such an ordeal. Their faith saw them through a very hard event in their lives.

I am so thankful that she was willing to share her story with all of us. Thank you, Jamey!

The Beck Family

Jamey and Greg

The Beck Family

Let me start from the beginning....

I met the love of my life March of 2000. We fell madly in love and were married October 13th, 2001. It was a perfect day. He is an amazing man.. really... I am BLESSED! We welcomed our first precious daughter into the world Sept. 28th 2004. What a life change that was, but what an amazing blessing as well. We never knew we could be so in love! Shortly thereafter our first son was born. Aidan arrived on March 23rd, 2006. He was nothing but perfect and precious and he proved to us that you really could love another baby as much as you love your first! June 14th, 2008, we proudly welcomed our second son, Talan! He has been full of spunk since the day he was born and he still is to this day. He keeps us all smiling and we are blessed by his happiness! 

Fast forward to June 2009 and Maddie is four, Aidan is three, and Talan is one. For nine years, my husband had been in the loan business. Long story short.... My husband called me and said he received a call from the "men in black." He met with them and was questioned in regards to a loan he did back in 2006 that foreclosed. They stated MANY times that they were not interested in him, but another man that was already in prison for many other very bad things. Greg did not "know" this man. He did a loan for him, but he only "knew" him from a realtor bringing him into Greg's office to help him out with a loan. Greg did make a very serious mistake. He did not disclose that there was a 2nd mortgage on the 1st mortgage HUD. 

LONG LONG LONG legal battle & story short... Greg was sentenced in federal court on August 12th, 2011 to four months in prison, four months house arrest, five years probation and $1.3 million in restitution.  He was to check in September 22nd, 2011 to Federal Prison in Yankton, South Dakota. On  what seemed like a forever long drive to the courtroom, Greg just kept having me read this: 

Psalm 91 
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation..."
We know that God DID answer our prayers. I know to some it may sound strange, but He did. God turns EVERYTHING into good. We may not even fully understand to this day what He has for us, but we trust Him completely. We know that He holds all things together & we have Joy that only He can give us through all of our trials.  He is our strength! Twelve weeks prior to Greg's sentencing we had our 4th precious little baby. Sweet Asher John was born May 20th, 2011. He was a blessing, a joy, and such a gift during such a hard time. We also held onto this verse through this difficult time.

Isaiah 55:8-12

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nether are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than your way and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. so is my word that goes our from my mouth it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Fast forward to the morning of September 22nd 2011. The day he was to check in to federal prison. His eyes opened while still in bed & he said  this...
"The Lord told me to read Philippians 4:4-9 " He ran to get his Bible & he read this to me...

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent  or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 

I had been dreading the day to come since when we left the federal courtroom: the day we would have to say goodbye. It was just as terrible as I thought it would be. Saying goodbye to the love of my life was so very hard. Watching him walk away from me broke my heart. I didn't have a clue before all of this happened the heartache I would feel. But God did something in Greg. He walked into the prison camp full of peace that only comes from  God!  He even giggled and told me that he loves me more than I know and that he would be just fine. 

James 1: 2-4
Consider it pure Joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let that endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Maddie (7), Aidan (5), Talan (3), and Asher(4 months)
 Visits were allowed every three weeks and we were there for every one of them. It was not an easy task to say the least, but we did it!  We would drive many hours from Ankeny to Yankton.  A little tiny glimpse into what it was like to visit my husband... The door would open and I would see my husband walking towards us.  The older kids would run to him saying, "Daddy!!!" Maddie would have tears running down her little cheeks. As I would see him, my heart felt so overwhelmed with so many emotions. There he is, my precious, sweet husband. I loved him so much, I wanted  to take him home with us.  I didn't want this night to end. I wanted  to just curl up in a little ball and have him take care of us. With tears running down my face I would also feel joy just in seeing him.  Then the night ended. We said our goodbyes and Maddie would have such a hard time letting go. We watched him walk away.. until the door closed and we could no longer see him. I wanted to run back in and yell, "Greg, I need another hug, I want one more kiss.  I need to look at your face for another minute. I can't let you leave me yet..."  But he was gone.  Here was something I wrote when I got back to our motel that night from the visit. 
God, I thank you for my husband tonight. When I saw him, Lord, just the joy that overflows from that man is amazing! He is in prison and You have given Him such joy! Such joyful giggles, precious smiles, silliness, just the same silly fun-loving man I fell in love with!  Lord, I miss my husband so much, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING about him! God I pray for strength for both us. You have blessed us with such supernatural strength that we know only comes from you! We praise you Lord Jesus for ALL you have done this far! We could not do this so peacefully and so joyfully on our own without you Lord. So we Thank you... thank you... THANK YOU JESUS!! We praise you!   
So we did this every 3 weeks and counted down the days. It was hard for the kids to understand just how long daddy would be gone. So we decided to make a chain. A visual of exactly how much longer we had left.
102 days when we completed the chain 
49 days left
We saved all the links as a reminder of how far we have come. 
We got the news of Greg's release date. January 20th, 2012. We were so ready & excited to have him home! 

While Greg was in prison God richly blessed him. He had amazing times teaching the men, praying for them, talking them through some hard things. Greg was needed there for a season. God had an amazing plan and he used Greg in Yankton. Thank you God for revealing to us what you have in store for our family. Greg is on probation for another two years. It is hard... there is A LOT he/we have to organize in finances to turn in by the 5th of each month to his probation officer. We have to show every penny that we spend. We have NO savings, not one credit card... nothing. At first it was really a hard thing for me to take hold of. What if this happens? What if we need it for this? Then one day I had peace over it. I knew that no matter what God will give us what we need. And He has! 

God clearly spoke to me one morning... He immediately gave me visions of how it will play out. How we will be speaking about His amazing love in the prisons & the favor He will give us. He kept saying the money would be gone. You will go into churches & share your testimony. Share about my love. My JOY through the hard times.

Then this is where I could not keep it together. God said, "You and Greg will start a Christian organization for kids who have a parent or both in prison. He showed me how it looked. How it would change the lives of so many kids. We would bring them into a house FULL of Gods amazing love! It would be a place where they know it is ok to talk about their mom/dad. That it is ok to love them!!! They made a mistake, but they are not defined by what happened in either their mom or dad's past. He showed me many many things about this place.  He also said it will be in the inner city and the name will be Isaiah House. He showed me what our kids will be doing there too. And how He will use them specifically. God had a plan through all of this. God is going to break the chains!! We know He has great plans for these kids!! 

After I got all this from the Lord I started looking back at old prophecies. This one was from 2/11 prior to Greg's sentencing. This amazed me. 
Birth a new birth being born. I have a ministry for Greg forth coming. He loves kids so much. Ministry is going to be reaching out to other families that are struggling. I will grow this is you and show you what I want you to do. I will have you & your wife develop this together. There is a new financial breakthrough  coming. Way beyond what you can ever dream of. But keep dreaming because that dream you have is coming true.  
God does have a perfect plan for everything. I always wanted a perfect little family in a beautiful house. Easy life. I know there are people out there, MANY people that have gone through MUCH harder things than us. But I do know our life is FAR from perfect or easy. It is hard sometimes. BUT I know God is good and he gave us a mission. I pray God that you give us clear eyes to see what we need to see to start the process! We want to follow what you have for us!! We just want to follow your will!! We love you Jesus and are willing to do whatever you call us to do! 

And lastly.... I HAVE to share what God has done in our lives since Greg has come home. How He took back a really hard day! This brings me to a beautiful morning in August. Maddie was asked to be in a spelling bee at the State Fair so we were getting ready very early to head down there. My mom was in Ankeny for the day to watch Maddie.  My dad was out of town on his annual Sturgis motorcycle trip with a couple guy friends. It just so happened to both land on the same weekend. This morning was a bittersweet morning for me. 1 year ago we were getting ready to go to the federal court room for Greg's sentencing. I told my mom that morning, "I just do not like this day.. It is just a hard day." The memories, the crushing memories of that day overwhelmed me throughout the day. My mom said to me, "God is going to take this day back!" That is all she said. We went about our day. It came & went. Our Talan went home to spend special alone time with his Nana & Papa as my dad was on his way home. After Talan had a two night sleepover,  we were to meet my mom and dad in Story City to bring our Talan home. Here is where it gets good....

Both of my parents looked like they had been crying. Our kids were running all over the place (as usual) and my parents asked if it would be okay to turn on a movie in our car for them to watch as my dad wanted to talk to us. So many thoughts rushed through my head..... what is going on?!?! Did someone die on the trip? Is someone really sick? What is happening? I am so confused. This seems serious. My mom had already started crying. We had all the kids in the car. My dad started talking... with tears running down his face. He said he was on his way home from Sturgis on HWY 44 (4+4=8 the number 8 means new beginning).  My dad said he was going about 60-65mph and he was in the back of 2 other guys. A deer jumped out & he hit the deer. I said, "What happened to you?!?" He said nothing as he was crying.... I had help from above.... He held my bike up!!!!!! 
He said he got off  his bike & knelt down, face down on the ground & gave his life to the Lord. Praised Him for his life!!!!!!!!!!!! My dad was 60 years old & the most amazing dad! He truly is amazing! This is amazing too....... This ALL happened 1 year ago to the day of Greg's sentencing!!!!!! GOD TOOK THAT DAY BACK!!! HE IS AMAZING!!! I told my mom a few years ago, when we were going through all of this. I would go through anything if it brings my dad to the Lord. Whatever it takes. THANK YOU JESUS for Your faithfulness!!! When you go through the hard times... remember through it all Jesus has you. He loves you!! He never leaves you! He has the most PERFECT plan even when you have so many things ripped away. Press in for more & never let the enemy win. 

Linking up to:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February Favorites!

February is racing by and it will be March before you know it. It's bitterly cold here today and while I enjoy some parts of winter (cozy nights by the fireplace),  I do look forward to spring and a little more warmth in the air.

I picked out a few favorite things for the month of February.

First of all, I cleared off the mantel over the fireplace and started tweaking it a bit.

I was fiddling around with the editing option on Picmonkey for this photo:)

It feels good to see a little green on the mantel!  I also found a few Easter banners on that I've shown below. I may try to duplicate one of these.

Etsy Sources:

I bought myself a lipstick for my birthday and it is now a favorite. It is Mac lipstick in Russian Red. Mac makes the best lipsticks that I have ever tried.

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and kind of thought, "What is going on here?!" I was having one of those days (or weeks) mainly because I had been putting off having those wonderful "grays" in my hair covered up.  Why do these things cost so much?  I finally went and had it done, put on lipstick, tried on some scarves, and felt like a human being again. Do you ever put those semi-necessary things off?

My husband bought me perfume for my birthday. I had received a sample of this fragrance recently and just loved it.

I usually do the Juicy Couture fragrances, but decided to get this one instead. I really like it!

I've loved reading The Hunger Games Series.

I know they've been out for awhile now. I had actually read the first book a few years ago, but just recently read the other two after seeing the movies. I've curled up in my chair and read all about Katniss and Peeta and have loved every single page.

Finally, I've won several contests this past year. I have no idea how or why! I think it is a God thing:)  Anyway, I thought my winning days must be over, but found out I won a gift card to Nickel and Suede.  You may recognize Kilee who runs this company from her blog, "One Little Momma". Needless to say, I was thrilled! Isn't she the cutest little thing you've ever seen? The earrings were beautiful and made wonderful gifts:) P.S. If you are looking for a gift, she sent them out in cute gift boxes, too. I would highly recommend purchasing something from her.

I hope your February has been wonderful! Keep warm! Love and blessings! - Kathy

Linking up to:

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Favorite Days

My littlest boy, Nathaniel, used to be by my side wherever I went.

A trip to Walmart? He was there. Going to the grocery store? He would always come along.

He was always in the back seat telling me to turn the radio station until he heard something he liked. Then he would say, "Turn it up, Mom" and sing his heart out.

Oh, he'll still snuggle up next to me on the couch and truly, he tells me he loves me about 10 times a day.

He is my baby.

But my baby is nine now.

He doesn't like going to the store with me as much as he once did. Now I get this reply:

"No thanks, Mom, I think I'll stay here and play Madden."

When did that happen?

But a couple of days ago, my daughter and I were delighted when he said he would go to Target with us.

It may or may not have had something to do with the promise of being able to look at Hot Wheels cars while we were there. I might have implied that.

It was so good to hold that sweet little hand again and walk through Target.

Until we were done at Target and I told him that I just needed to make a short stop at Walmart. To which he replied, "This is now a hostage situation."

I laughed so hard.

It may not have been quite the same as when he was just a little guy that I picked up and put in my shopping cart.

But I'll take it.

Left age 5  -   Right age 9 as "The Falcon" for Halloween
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Faithful Hand of God

I will be very open and honest here today with you.

A few months ago, I was reading some materials from Joyce Meyer ( a very gifted Bible teacher). I was holding a sheet of declarations to speak over your household. If you don't know what declarations are, they are simply statements that you are making, by faith - things you are declaring over your home, that you are believing for. It may be things you are believing for that, except for God, seem to have no chance of taking place. For instance, you may make a declaration about a child who has drifted away from things you have taught and instilled within them. You may stand in their room and declare over them (when they aren't present), the things you believe over them, such as, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." Or you may walk around your home and say about an impossible situation, "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord."  That is just one example. You are stating and declaring God's word over a situation.

Anyway, I was holding this paper full of examples of declarations for my family. For a few days, I stood in my husband's home office, and said these things out loud with all the faith I had. Almost immediately after doing this, I had an appointment to take my youngest son to an ear specialist. He had been having severe drainage in one ear and antibiotics hadn't seemed to help him. I was shocked to the very core of my being when they did a CAT scan and saw a growth in his left ear. This growth was essentially taking out the hearing parts of that ear.

Was I full of faith? Did I go back in my husband's office and continue to make declarations of faith?


My exact words were, "Man alive, I'm not doing that again."

I was just so shell shocked by this turn of events.

I really shouldn't have been.

I still kind of live in a world where if I do good, then good, lovely things will always happen to me. I really tend to believe that.

But what I was saying out loud was having an effect. It's just that my statements weren't going unchallenged. I was being met by a very real opponent.

I was talking with my husband last night. I was so discouraged. I have tried to stand in faith over several issues in our home, and yet, to the outward eye, there is no change. Dave was trying to explain some very basic, biblical principles to me, but he may as well have been discussing the theory for the atomic bomb. I kept thinking, "How does what he is saying relate to my problem?"  It really was good advice-advice I'm trying to put into place this morning. But, I didn't really want advice. I just wanted the problem to be fixed.

I walked around talking with God this morning. The disappointments, the discouragement, the agony of waiting and not really knowing if anything at all will change. There is also this deep disappointment in myself. Faith is kind of exhausting sometimes and I really feel like packing it in today.

I thought back to a time, several years ago, when I was standing in faith for something.

Now I am on the other side of that prayer.

What I was standing for really did happen.

So, I went back to that old verse that I have always loved.

Romans 4:20 says about Abraham that he "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform."

I can't tell you how many times I would go back to that verse (years ago, when I was about 19 yrs. old), say it over and over to myself and simply believe, even though my outward circumstances didn't seem to change very much.

And then, suddenly, they did change.

Now, all these years later, I look back and can see the faithful hand of God.

I know it is hard going it alone, when you look around and know that there isn't anyone who understands a whole lot about your situation. You may be in a hard situation, too, today.

Let us bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I am guilty, too. At times, I have tried to share the deepest concerns of my heart, but met with an averting of the eyes, as if they can't connect a Christian with having problems or discussing them.. I should keep searching for a safe listener, rather than giving up. Or if someone else has a problem that seems too big for me to take in, I need to let them simply know that I am there for them, too. I may not know what to do for them, but I can listen and pray. Sometimes, that is all you can do. Sometimes, you can't fix their problem and they can't fix yours. But we can bear each other's burdens.

There really isn't a perfect Christian or a perfect person in this entire world. We all have problems. Some major and some smaller. Unfortunately, some will never show their problems at all. Some will. Some are hurting right now and have no idea what to do and feel they have no where to turn.

If I look around and see seemingly problem-less people, it sends a wrong message. On the other hand, this isn't written so you can unload everything about everyone to someone. Use discretion.

But if you are facing something that seems insurmountable, share it with someone, and then begin the hard part. The very hard part that I wish wasn't hard. But it is.

Believing for the impossible is hard work.

Standing in faith is hard work.

Getting up and going to bed and seeing no change is discouraging.

It isn't all butterflies and sunsets and pretty things. I wish it was!

But now I go back to that verse that I've always loved and begin there again today.

She staggered not at the promise of God, but she was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded, that what He had promised, He would also be able to  perform for her." A little paraphrased, but it helps me:)

I stand alongside you today if you too are in the middle of a battle that seems to have no end. Health issues are the worst, aren't they? There is no magic wand to wave them away. They are always right there staring you in the face.

But I stand with you, anyway. I believe that great things will happen in your situation this year.

For some reason, I was thinking about our trip to New York City this morning. I was remembering when my husband and I were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful, sunny October day and I was so very happy. But as we were walking with a rather large group of people all around us, I looked out over the majestic buildings and beautiful scenery and suddenly felt God's heart for people of that city. I prayed to myself as we walked (actually I was talking out loud in a low voice, but I don't think anyone noticed) that God would meet every person there right where they were. It is such a vast place, but God was aware of every person living there.

I mention this just to say that God is interested in what you are going through. The world is so big, but He created the world. I don't have answers, but He does. I think He delights when, even in the depths of our turmoil, we simply try and grab hold of what He has said, and just believe. Even in the most shaky and small belief, He will take that and perform what we can't.

I send much love to each one of you today!

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