Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mary's Story revisited, Part Three.

Just as I want to reach out to family and friends at this joyful season with the Christmas cards I still haven't managed to send, I also want to reach out to my (oft-neglected) blog-readers.  As Christmas speeds closer, I thought you might like to reflect for a minute or two on Mary.  Two years ago, I was asked to give a sermon in the first person as Mary, costume and all!  What follows is the text from that talk (reposted from 2009, I know, totally blog-cheating)--written as if Mary was speaking.   I hope you enjoy reflecting on the birth of our Savior!  Merry Christmas!



continued...to read from the beginning, start here.


When I returned to Nazareth I knew it was time to tell my parents and Joseph (aah, good, kind Joseph...) what God had done in me. The signs of pregnancy were beginning to show. Oh Lord, how would they ever believe me?

My parents did their best to be supportive, but I am not sure if they believed me. If this baby was not God’s own (and who ever heard of that?) then their daughter (who was betrothed!) had committed a wicked sin and dishonored the entire family. Yet, they wondered how I could ever make up such a story. They summoned Joseph and when I told him—he was disgusted and heartbroken. He didn’t say so…but I could see it on his face. He left without a word. That night I cried myself into a fitful sleep. I knew Joseph would likely divorce me…oh what would I do? I waited for word from him. I tried to be strong and take heart. God was in this. He gave me the strength to cooperate with his plans.

I was so relieved when a few days later Joseph returned to say that He believed me. He had thought to divorce me quietly without accusation (such a dear man), but God revealed to him that I was telling the truth. He took me as his wife and promised to care for this holy child as his own.

I remember the day that Joseph and I went to my parents and told them we needed to go to Bethlehem, the city of our ancestor David, for the census. My mother strongly objected. She said my time was near. She was right. I knew it too. But, it was law. God would sustain me. He hadn’t forgotten the baby inside of me. And now I see that God was fulfilling the words of the prophet Micah that said the messiah would come out of Bethlehem…. God was working through the Emperor of Rome to fulfill his prophecy. There’s something to ponder, huh?

Joseph didn’t have much in the way of travel comforts—but he put me and a few belongings, and food for the journey on a donkey and we set off after a tearful goodbye with my family. 

It was a journey that took over a week. It felt like a year. I was SO uncomfortable, and had to stop often to stretch my cramping muscles and rest my aching back. Any of you who have been heavy with child can relate to how I was feeling. Joseph was kind to me…but also was hurrying us along. He wanted to get there—I think it’s something about the way God created man—always wanting to get there. So, I did my best not to slow us down too much.

It seemed like the longest journey ever. Not just physically, but emotionally. I battled thoughts of inadequacy, and worries about what would happen when we arrived. How was this all going to work out? I felt like these were crazy circumstances.  I asked God once again to help me be strong and take heart and wait on him. The pains were coming on and off…and I began to pray we would at least make it to town to find the services of a midwife and a place to have this child. Would Joseph be delivering this baby on the side of the road to Bethlehem? “Oh God, rescue me!” I prayed.

We did make it in time…but we weren’t in town long when my water broke and the pains came quicker. The place was swarming with people, every last corner of folks homes were taken with relatives and travelers, and we had to bed down in a stable-- the place where animals were kept at night. At that point I didn’t care…I just wanted to have a place off the street to have this baby. A midwife was found and some distant female relatives attended me. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy—ah, you should have seen him—right there in the stable. Without my mother at my side. Without the comfort of home and the celebration of my family.

It wasn’t how I thought my first child’s birth would be. Certainly not. I had dreamed, as most girls did, of marrying a kind man and having lots of children. I never dreamed of this. I have to confess that I wondered if God had forgotten--in all of his Messiah-plans--to secure us a proper place for His arrival. Nothing is impossible with God. The messenger told me that. Why didn’t He remember to take care of securing someone’s guest room for us? A stable? Really? Is that where a king should be born??

But God granted me peace and my heart was filled with joy. He was here. My baby. The Messiah. God with us. And somehow that was more than enough. And He was born in a stable.

I have since come to know that there was a purpose in the stable. God wanted the world to see that this was a very different Messiah than the political king they expected. A messiah who would hang out with the lowly of society. (In fact, some of Jesus’s first visitors where a stinky, dirty group of shepherds—who weren’t intimidated to come visit us in the stable. Their story encouraged us so.) No this Messiah was not going to fit their expectations, but instead cause them to rethink most things they thought they knew. The stable was part of God’s plan from the beginning—regardless of whether I understood at the time.

I wonder if any of you are in your own stable of sorts. Circumstances that are unexpected, don’t make sense and make you wonder if God Almighty has forgotten about you? Maybe He seems silent. Your stable might be a season of heartache, or of discontent or of pain. How will you wait on the Lord? Will you trust that He is Good? That there is purpose in the stable?That there is something bigger going on? Will you ask God what it looks like in your life to be strong and take heart and wait on him?

Remember, God came to earth. As a baby. My baby. For all of us. He is with us. God with us. Immanuel. Praise be to God!

I hope this reflection on Mary encouraged you. Special thanks to Missy at It's Almost Naptime for her influence on this part of my talk.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mary's Story revisited, Part Two.

Just as I want to reach out to family and friends at this joyful season with the Christmas cards I still haven't managed to send, I also want to reach out to my (oft-neglected) blog-readers.  As Christmas speeds closer, I thought you might like to reflect for a minute or two on Mary.  Two years ago, I was asked to give a sermon in the first person as Mary, costume and all!  What follows is the text from that talk (reposted from 2009, I know, totally blog-cheating)--written as if Mary was speaking.   I hope you enjoy reflecting on the birth of our Savior!  Merry Christmas!



(continued--the story starts here)

I knew what all this meant in my life. When my pregnancy was discovered it would appear as adultery. I would be labeled a sotah and as was our way, be asked to drink the bitter waters to determine if I was guilty or not. I had seen it happen to others—their clothes ripped to expose their skin, publicy scorned and made to be an example to others. If when she drank the bitter waters made her sick, she would be found guilty—and she would be condemned to death by stoning. Even if I was spared death, at the very least, Joseph would be legally bound to divorce me. My child would be an outsider and scorned by the villagers He would not be permitted in public assemblies. My reputation would never recover—I knew well the wagging tongues of the women in my village--and I would never marry. My child and I would be alone in the world. I would be breaking my parents hearts if they didn’t believe me…and I would be destroying Joseph’s reputation as well. If I was to defend myself and share that the child was God’s and not a man’s…I would be labeled blasphemous—perhaps the worst accusation of all.

I remember the weight of the realization that this would be costly. But when Almighty God asks you to do something…you say yes. I knew God’s faithfulness to our people in years gone by…and knew He was good. He had a plan and had somehow chosen me to play a big part in it. And I believed that He would be faithful to me.

And then came the waiting. There would be months til the child came. Days until I could know for sure this was really happening in my body. Weeks until I knew how Joseph and my family would respond.

We were no strangers to waiting—my people. We were God’s chosen people, awaiting a messiah, yet we lived under Roman rule. We were taught early on to fear the soldiers…my mom told me that whenever I heard the yells or hoofprints of Roman soldiers, I was to run and hide…cause it wasn’t unheard of for them to take a young women as their own. They did whatever they wanted and we were the ones to pay. We were oppressed and we were waiting for the messiah. Some had given up hope…it had been 400 years since God had made contact with His people and we waited to hear from Him again.I often dreamed of being one of those freed from Egypt—able to see God in the pillar of smoke and fire. At least they could see Him, and knew He was leading them and doing something. My people were waiting in silence—and nothing around us pointed to the long-awaited messiah. So we waited.

You see, waiting sounds passive. Yet it isn’t. Have you had to wait for something? Are you waiting now? Then you know…It’s active. It takes energy and perserverance. I was on a journey that I needed to be actively engaged in. I have even heard it said that waiting on God is the very work of the people of God.

So the question came to my heart—how will I wait? I remember my father quoting the scriptures. “Wait on the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait on the Lord. So that’s how I wait…be strong and take heart. I asked God to give me strength for the journey ahead, and Hope that He was in control. I asked Him over and over again in coming months…and He was faithful. My hope was in Him.

After the initial shock wore off—I knew I needed to see my cousin Elizabeth. She is the only person who would understand what it was to be pregnant with a miracle baby. It was a five day journey. I hoped she would receive me and I would find her well. It was hard to wait to reach her and see that she truly was with child as the messenger said she was.

When I arrived… I saw her. My old, tender-hearted cousin, obviously with child!  What the messenger said was true! I happily called to her and before I even had a chance to tell her what had happened… she grasped her belly and gasped. I was afraid, “ohno! Elizabeth are you OK?” And she said with a huge smile on her weathered face, “When you greeted me, the baby in my womb leaped with joy!” She went on to proclaim that I was blessed among women and so was the baby I bore. She asked why she should be so favored that the mother of her Lord would come to her. She said I was blessed because I believed that what the Lord said to me would be accomplished. Oh Lord, thank you for this sign that nothing is impossible! My heart rejoiced and I sang out in praise to God. Elizabeth was such an encouragement to me, I decided to stay with her for the remainder of her pregnancy—about three months--to help until her baby was born. Then, I’d return to Nazareth.

It wasn’t long before it was obvious to me I was pregnant. I was so very tired, and my stomach was unsettled all the time. It was true. God had given me a baby.

to be continued tomorrow...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mary's story revisited, Part One.

Just as I want to reach out to family and friends at this joyful season with the Christmas cards I still haven't managed to send, I also want to reach out to my (oft-neglected) blog-readers.  As Christmas speeds closer, I thought you might like to reflect for a minute or two on Mary.  Two years ago, I was asked to give a sermon in the first person as Mary, costume and all!  What follows is the text from that talk (reposted from 2009, I know, totally blog-cheating)--written as if Mary was speaking.   I hope you enjoy reflecting on the birth of our Savior!  Merry Christmas!


I am so humbled and thankful for this opportunity to share the story of the birth of my first -born son, Jesus, with you. It is my favorite story of all.  Of course, all mothers love to tell of their experiences of bringing their children into the world…I’m no exception. But this birth story is so un-ordinary.   And it doesn’t belong just to me—but to all of us.  I’ve treasured these things and pondered them in my heart and am so happy to be sharing them with you.

Even after all of these years I still can’t believe this happened to me. I was just a poor, jewish girl from an obscure village of 400 called Nazareth. I’ll never understand why God chose me to be the one.

Let me start at the beginning. I hadn’t been of marrying age very long…but was already pledged to be married to Joseph, a local carpenter. This was the first stage of marriage, and meant that although I still lived with my folks, I was legally Joseph’s wife. My parents had arranged the marriage, as was our custom. I was relatively pleased with their choice. I didn’t know him well, but I knew he was from our tribe, and from the royal line of David, and that he observed the Torah and loved God. He had a trade that would provide us a sufficient living. What more could I ask for? I knew I would easily grow to love him…just like my mother learned to love my father…and was anticipating the day when he would take me to his home and I would live as his wife.

One day during that time of betrothal--the day that forever changed my life--as I took a break from my daily chores to rest, I felt a disturbance in the air. It’s hard to describe—but the hair on my arms stood up on end and my skin tingled. I looked up and before me was a figure unlike any person I had ever seen before. He was glowing so bright I could not make out his face. He said, “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you”.

To say I was startled and afraid was an understatement…my heart was racing, my breath was caught in my throat. Could he mean me? Favored? Then he told me not to be afraid and called me by name, Mary. When he said my name, a peace came over me—for which I’m very thankful. I’m not sure I would have been able to hear what he said next because of the pounding of my heart in my ears! But God calmed me. The messenger went on to tell me that I would be with child, and give birth to a son, and give him the name Jesus. (I remember hoping he meant eventually…but somehow knew he meant soon.)

He then went on to tell me the most overwhelming news of all—that this son will be great and will be called Son of the Most High! He will have David’s throne! And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever…His kingdom would have no end!

My mind swirled with the implications of what he was saying. I knew promises of the scriptures well enough to know he was saying that I would be giving birth to the long-awaited Messiah!

I asked him how this could be that I would be with child when I hadn’t been with any man? And then he told me I would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit! I had never heard of that before…and didn’t understand…but he spoke with such authority that I knew that what he was telling me must be true. 

As if this wasn’t enough for me to take in…He went on to tell me that my cousin Elizabeth was pregnant as well! Let me tell you, this was just as impossible as me being pregnant—as she was well past child-bearing age and had never even been able to have a child. Elizabeth had long ago given up hope on ever having a child. He said nothing is impossible with God.

In my opinion, the most surprising thing of all was yet to come. The most surprising thing was that I consented! I said, “I am the lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” God gave me the strength to muster some courage and agree to this plan. As soon as I did, the messenger left me.


to be continued tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

unwrapping on a bad day?


Today I had one of those mornings.  I woke up sad.  I was discouraged.  The sadness seemed to flavor everything...even the Christmas music sounded a little sad to me.  (Of course I've always thought "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is fairly depressing--I could totally do without it.  Close second--"I'll be Home for Christmas".  Can I get any amens out there?)  I had a headache.  And too much to do.  And my daughter disobeyed and needed a consequence first thing this morning.  She's 15, so we aren't talking a time out--we are talking losing a privilege.  I hate it when that happens.  I wanted to go back to bed and wake up tomorrow.

So, on a Tuesday, where unwrapping gifts with emily at chatting at the sky would be the focus of my post, I wasn't sure if I should write.  I mean...I don't want to depress everyone.  And finding a gift on one of those days is hard, ya know?  However, is there a better day to unwrap the gifts of every day then one where you have to look hard?  I think probably not.


So tonight, I'm unwrapping a few gifts I've noticed today:

*  Cleaning my too-neglected bathroom was cathartic.  Something about getting rid of dust that has been staring at me from the never-used large bathtub and some grime from other places (use your imagination) gave me a sense of satisfaction.  I can unwrap cleaning a bathroom today.

*  Pickle accepted her consequence without much grief.  She knew she had broken a rule and then lied about it.  She took the consequence with a maturity I hadn't expected.  I can unwrap unexpected grace in the form of a calmer-than-expected teenager.

*  Although I didn't want to, skipping my Healing Journey class to be present on a hectic night at home was a good decision.  I ran into one of the leaders today who gave me tonight's video, so I will be caught up in no time.  That was a gift.  I can unwrap a hard-but-good decision that resulted in a little space to breathe, and I can unwrap the timely gift of a bible study video.

*  As I sit here tonight, Bubba is finishing up a project for school.  It is almost conquered.  I can unwrap that...it is always good to finish a project.  Pickle and hubby are downstairs in the basement, pulling the guestroom together for my in-laws to stay in later this week.  What I hear from down there is Christmas songs--not from the ipod, but instead their acapella voices are belting them out.  I can certainly unwrap the gift of help with housework and joyous singing from those I love.

*  And my mood?  Significantly improved--even though circumstances remain unchanged for now.  God has showed me that He's got my heart in His hands.  And He is faithful.  And that is no small gift to unwrap.

Tonight, I'm unwrapping the little gifts in the midst of a poopy Tuesday.  Some Tuesdays are like that...it's OK.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

hello december

hello december.


hello snow  (we have some today to kick off the month).

hello month of busy.

hello month of fun festivity.

hello lights twinkling and fireplace burning.

hello basketball games.

hello christmas music playing.  everywhere, all the time.

hello advent candles and readings.


hello shopping and wrapping.


hello school band and choir concerts.

hello visits with family.

hello parties and teacher gifts.

hello pup's christmas collar.

hello too many sweets.  yum.

hello anticipation you can feel.

happy december, everyone!

(inspired by lisa leonard's hello monday posts--love them)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

thirty thankful days- day 30-we made it!


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

Well, we have made it to the last day in November and the last day of our thankful link-ups!  I'm thankful for all of you that have joined in whether it was once or everyday!

What have I gained by doing this exercise in thanks?

I hoped it would get me back in the habit of looking for reasons to be thankful...and it definitely did that.  Most days I had to work hard to choose what to write about from all there is to be thankful for...and some days I had to work a bit to come up with something.  I think our hearts fluctuate like that from day to day, but there is always something to give thanks for, and worth it to look for it.

I hoped it would help me get back into regular blogging.  I love writing and expressing myself, but for whatever reason it's been harder lately.  I can't figure out if I couldn't put two thoughts together meaningfully, or if there were just too many thoughts spinning through my head in this season to select one to write about.  Regardless, I knew thankful posts would be easy to write and could get me back in the swing of it all.  I think it worked...but time will tell!

I hoped to inspire others to be thankful.  To notice what to be thankful for.  To share their thankfulness with us and we in turn would be inspired.  Did that happen?  I know I enjoyed reading all of your posts VERY much.  You reminded me of gifts in my life as well.  Perhaps gratitude is contagious???

So, today, I'm thankful for our thirty day adventure in thanks.  I'm thankful for those who've joined me and I'm thankful for the ways you have challenged and reminded me.  I truly hope this little challenge was a blessing to you as well.

Keep on being thankful!




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 29-this season (and I don't mean Christmas this time)


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

Today I thank God for this season I'm in.  It's a season of unsure steps, of new ways of relating, new ways of doing.  It has me a bit off-balance, cause the self-reliance I have chosen in the not-so-far past has fallen short. Thankfully.  God has so much more for me than self-reliance.

It is a season of embracing...embracing the person God has made me to be (as opposed to who I thought I wanted to be); embracing my age and stage of life (I still am shocked I'm middle-aged and have a young woman for my daughter!); embracing that I'm so far from perfect in relationships (but that I'm learning, still); embracing what is ahead (unknown, and ready or not!).


This season of newness, change, introspection, wondering, and trying new ways...it's Good.  I guess I thought (deep down) that I would be well on my way to "arrived" by now.  So I find myself surprised.  I didn't expect for God to bring new things, to call me to deep healing, to make me rethink.  I could get overwhelmed and immobilized (I do that).  But God has called me to keep stepping forward--and realize that the steps only seem unsure when I forget that I can trust.  This season is one best navigated with complete dependence on God and is so out of my control.  I don't always like it--but I'm safe.  And I'm thankful.

I invite you to link up today here with your thankful post as part of thirty thankful days here at theGoodlife, as well as celebrate the everyday gifts with emily at chatting at the sky...I am.



Monday, November 28, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 28-the doc


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

You may remember that my hubby has been dealing with back issues the last few years.  It has been debilitating and depressing and has dominated our hearts and prayers.  Well, one of the biggest things I'm thankful for in 2011 is that God has brought help to Dave.

God had been leading us to consider more natural approaches to healing (like nutrition, etc) since doctors and medicine and countless procedures left Dave still on the couch in pain.  So as we tentatively set out on that path...God brought Dr. Smith into our lives.  We had heard about this holistic chiropractor for years from friends, even before we had our own problems.  Once Dave started suffering, several had recommended he see this doc...but for whatever reason, we never sought his help.  (I now think that in God's timing, Dave needed to be desperate enough to try anything before he would totally buy into this guy's philosophy of healing.)  At a prayer night at church, Dave was working the sound board when a friend approached him and said, "I don't know why, but I feel like I'm supposed to tell you to try my doctor, Dr. Smith."  That was it.  We hear you, God!  Dave decided to give him a try.  Insurance didn't cover any of it.  We didn't care...we were desperate for Dave to rejoin life as we knew it.

Well, "Smitty" as we affectionately call him (not to his face), had been a Godsend.  His approach to holistic healing that has Dave addressing the structural, chemical and emotional/spiritual aspects of his health simultaneously has made a huge difference.  We have learned there is so much more to Dave's condition than just back pain, and we are thankful to have someone addressing the whole thing.  Dave still has a ways to go until he is fully healthy again, but he has made giant strides forward.  One day, not long after Dave started to improve, Pickle looked at me and said, "Dad is back".  And we realized not only that he was back, but how much had had indeed been missing.  We are so thankful.

Since then, I have started seeing Smitty for the problems I've been having with my neck.  His x-rays showed double scoliosis in my back, among other things, and his treatment has been slowly unwinding the torques in my spine.  As my back improves, the neck should as well.  It already is doing better--but has a ways to go yet.  This type of treatment is slow, but at least I feel like I'm heading in the right direction.  I saw him today, and he was pleased with the progress in my back.  He identified scar tissue in my neck that is part of what needs to be address as the healing moves to my neck...and he spent more time then usual on my neck today.  It felt good.

So today I am thankful for dear Smitty--the doc--and the gifts God has given him to point people to healing.  And I so very, VERY, grateful, for the healing God is bringing to Dave.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button. 



Sunday, November 27, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 27-puppy


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!



Today I'm thankful for my pup, Patch.  God gave Patch to our family several years ago in a way that we knew he was a gift from above.  You can read about our quest for a family pet here--it's the story of my dog conversion.  And click here if you want to see some of my favorite pictures of my little furry friend.  You should...he's really cute.  :0)


Patch is always nearby.  He is usually curled up on whatever piece of furniture I'm sitting on...as long as he can find a way to squish himself in.  If we are relaxing on the couch...he's napping on top of us.  He loves to be pet and scratched and can be a bit pushy when he wants some lovin' but he lets up when we tell him to.  Lately he's been trying to get his head in between my hands and the keyboard when I type.  Other times he paws at it to get my attention.  I think he's trying to type too...there are things in that fuzzy head that apparently need to come out!  He often rests his chin on our legs...and looks up at us with his dark eyes.  He's pretty hard to resist at that point...
love me...
For someone who never wanted a dog, I sure do love this little guy.  He brings me company, warmth, joy and laughter.  And he's a reminder to me of God's abundant love.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button. 



Saturday, November 26, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 26-bring on Christmas!


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

Boy, I'm really slacking off on the thankful posts!  I honestly spaced it completely yesterday and most of today... full days of no-routine, and little computer time.  Sorry to those of you who are faithfully posting and wanting to link up!!

Today I'm thankful for the Christmas spirit!  You know--that little tingle of excitement you feel as you sense the holiday is really on it's way?  Well, I feel like my Christmas spirit has waned the last few years...I wanted to feel it, but it barely showed up.  I don't know if it was hubby's back issues, or letting myself get bogged down in to-dos or what...

However, it's back!  And I'm thankful!  I think the Christmas spirit is back for a few reasons.  One, I think I'm in a better place emotionally this year.  Can't really say why other than that I know God is working on my heart.  Two, this Christmas we are getting to see ALL of our family--both sides!  We just made the final decision and plans this weekend.  My side of the family is gathering here in Colorado the week before Christmas, and then we'll join Dave's side of the family in Minnesota for a late celebration.  What a treat to see everyone!  Three, I think I realized that the last few years I wasn't allowing myself to relax and relish the season until everything was "ready"--which never really happened.  There was always more to do, and I lived with the delusion that I could get it all done with enough time left over to reflect and enjoy.  This year, I'm enjoying as I go.  So the house only got partly decorated this weekend (I'd prefer it to be done) but I'm sitting and enjoying a Christmas movie with my kids.  There is always tomorrow, right?  Letting go of the shoulds and the have-tos really helps.
Pickle sporting a random christmas decoration.
this year's tree
Anyway, it's fun to have some shopping started, the tree up (didn't do it last year, remember?), and the travel plans made.  We've been listening to Christmas music and lighting yummy-smelling Christmas candles.  And I'm enjoying it, and am so thankful.

What did you do this weekend?  Shop? Decorate? Relax?

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thirty thankful days-thanksgiving


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!


I've been up before everyone else this morning--cinnamon rolls and egg casserole are ready to go in the oven, and I'm enjoying the quiet before the celebration.  In the quiet I've been reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for...and I can't really wrap my mind around it.  I mean, really, I want for nothing.

Sure, I have my moments when I wish this was different, or we had more of that, or less of this.  Gratefulness is usually the cure for those moments.

So on this thanksgiving day, my heart overflows with thanksgiving not only for the obvious big blessings--faith, family, friends, health, a home, jobs and God's never ending grace and love--but the also for all of the smaller things I take for granted.  You know, the things that are easy to overlook because they are so normal...

~ an oven that works so we can cook
~ slippers and a robe for cold mornings
~ running water, hot showers and flushing toilets (really--imagine the alternative)
~ warm blankets
~ cars to drive and $ to put gas in them
~ the TV and the entertainment we can share as a family at home
~ a washing machine and dryer
~ my Bible
~ music and ways to play it, listen to it, enjoy it
~ cell phones and always being able to reach my family
~ a selection of clothes to wear
~ grocery stores loaded with food to choose from (I visited three yesterday!)
~ the internet and all the ways we use it everyday
~ my eyeglasses...and boy do I need them these days
~ the beautiful mountains I see each day (and sometimes don't notice)

I could go on and on.  The blessings--big and small, noticed and unnoticed--abound.  I'm thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 22-grandparents


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

Today I'm thankful that my kids have wonderful grandparents.  We are blessed to have all four of our parents alive and well and involved in our kids' lives.

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, as two of the gals in my healing journey class have recently lost their moms, and I get to see glimpses of their grief and pain.  Then, earlier this month, my brother-in-law Matt lost his father to cancer.  He was relatively young, and it is very sad.  I can't imagine...

Today was grandparents' day at my kids' school.  Both of my parents, who live here in town, were able to go.  They've gone every year since Bubba started at the school three years ago.  Now they split up--one going to the high school with Pickle, and one goes to the elementary school with Bubba.  I think they enjoy it, and I know the kids enjoy hosting them and showing them their world.

Grandparent's Day 2009--all four grandparents with Bubba
My hubby's parents will be travelling from MN in early December just to be here for a few of the kids' events...they will take in a piano recital and a choir concert and maybe hit a few basketball practices.  It's pretty cool that they make the effort to be at our kids' things when then they can.

All four of my kids' grandparents are loving, interested, caring, praying grandparents.  Our kids are so very blessed.  Many kids do not have four grandparents--due to either broken families or death--one or more are missing.  And of the grandparents kids do have, not all are even close to as kind and generous as ours are.  We are so blessed.  But as a friend said in her post, I will not feel guilty about any of that...  but I will be thankful.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button yet.  I'm such a techy, huh?


thirty thankful days-day 21-christmas project


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!


Posting this a day late...but a splitting headache took me down yesterday.  Oh well, two thankful posts today!

I'm thankful for the Christmas Project our kids at church are doing this year.  Through partnering with a local elementary school, we learned of 32 children from that school who will not be getting Christmas presents this year, due to financial hardships.  That's not okay, and we needed to do something about it.


Now, let me tell you that one of the things we do with the kids on Sunday mornings is reward them for learning their remember-verse, bringing their Bibles, etc.  What the kids earn are little glass marbles--we call them mementos.  The kids place the mementos in a jar--working together to fill it up.  The deal is when the jar is full, they earn the chance to do something as a group for someone else.  As they do things to build their faith, they not only are blessed themselves, but they become a blessing to others.

The jar is full.  We gathered the kids and parents together this past Sunday, to reveal what project they have earned.  Each family was able to choose a envelope from our wrapped package--and inside the envelope was information on one of the kids in need, and cash with which to go shopping for that child!  They were very excited!   The kids have been instructed to use half of the money to buy them something really fun, and half of the money to buy them something practical.

I'm so thankful for this project--that we get to show kids that God sees them and God loves them.  That our kids get to experience participating in something so close to God's heart.  Our kids will be able to engage their hearts and minds as they think about what this other child needs and would want, and how to best bless them.  It's all pretty stinkin' cool...and I'm thankful.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button yet.  I'm such a techy, huh?



Sunday, November 20, 2011

thirty thankful days-day 20-sunday comfies


Every day in November I am posting something I'm thankful for, and I would love to have you join me!  Link to your thankful post below, or write about it in the comments.  Let's be thankful together!

As I sit to write my thankful post today there is much to be thankful for...but honestly, what comes to mind the most right now is how much I love changing into sloppy, comfy clothes on Sunday afternoons.

Working at a church makes Sunday morning a fun, fact-paced and energy-expending time.  We go early and leave late...and although I love it all, it usually feels (at least) like an 8 hour day by the time I come home.  So after all is said and done, and after we grab lunch out (most weeks), we walk in the door mid-afternoon and I change into the comfies.

Now, our church is casual.  I often wear jeans.  I still try to look on the dressier side of jeans though, and I often wear heels.  Still, I'm mostly comfortable--I really can't complain.  However, there is something to be said about putting on the yoga pants and a big soft t-shirt or sweatshirt, that says it's time to relax.  It says I'm not going anywhere the rest of the day.  It's a cue to my body that I'm off-duty.  Yeah, I might still do some laundry or pick up around the house...but the pace is slow.  It's different than the go-until-bedtime routine of the weekdays.  It's different than the errands-housework-and-soccer-game-type clothes of a Saturday.  These are cozy, and practically unpresentable.  For example, today I'm wearing grey soft yoga pants and a very large and VERY soft red and brown t-shirt that belongs to my hubby.   I'm quite a sight.  It's wonderful.

So, today, I'm thankful for cozy comfies for Sunday afternoons, and for the change of pace they represent.

What are you thankful for today?  Link up or comment!  Let's fill up blogland with thankfulness!

A few simple instructions for the link up:
-please link to your specific thankful post--not just your blog
-please link back to theGoodlife in your post so others can join the fun!
-feel free to grab the 30 thankful days graphic--I haven't figured out how to make it a button yet.  I'm such a techy, huh?



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