Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Good friends. Good reminders.

So, I was reading through my email this morning. I was excited to see something from one of my favorite friends. It was full of love, encouragment and grace. She sent the following quote along -- a perfect reminder, don't you think?

"What seems too difficult for us is a sure sign that it belongs to God." - Marie DePree

Monday, November 28, 2005

Finding joy on a Monday morning

You know, it is times like this when our faith is tested. It would be so easy to become bitter, angry and turn from God and those you love the most. Our family is facing uncertain times, and honestly, it is a hard place to sit. The waiting is the worst part. Well, that and watching the man I love grow another wrinkle from stress and worry. The mornings are especially hard. His internal body clock wants him up and ready for work bright and early. While he sits in the dark, long before businesses open and the paper arrives, it gives him time to think. As we all know, it is during those times when you wish you could fall into a deep sleep and stay there until everything is fixed.

I try to be understanding. I try to be supportive. I've been able to dust off my administrative skills and make the paperwork aspect of job searching a bit easier for him. Still, I can't give him back his sense of worth and confidence. I try.

Our pastoral staff has been remarkable during this time. They have been men of honor and strength, encouraging Jeff - praying over him and lending an ear when he needs to vent.
For that, I am so thankful. For men, so much of who they are is tied into their work. It is a big part of their being. They find validation and respect from their work.
What is the first thing men ask one another when they meet? "What do you do for a living?"
The relationship grows from there. Odd, but true.

And, while Jeff has other men to rally around him - I am blessed with tremendous friends. They offer hugs, prayer and friendship. Many of them have experienced this very thing and understand my feelings. Their compassion is healing.

Back to faith for a moment. It would be great if we always looked to God for our validation and strength. It is He who is the ultimate provider, not some building that issues a paycheck week to week. It is He who loves us like no other and wants prosperity and joy. If we allow it, God can (and will) bring blessings into our life and be our rock on which to stand. It all sounds so good. So perfect. So peaceful. But....

We live in a broken world. We are human. We struggle. We worry. We try to control every minute issue in our life and when that doesn't happen, we feel stress. That isn't His plan for our lives. I often wonder if God is shaking his head at us saying, "Children, relax. I am here. I know how this all works out. Let me be me and you be you. Trust and obey."
Praise God for his patience because I know we test Him often.

So, as I sit here this morning listening to Christmas music and sipping my coffee -- I am choosing to find joy. We have so much to be thankful for in this world. We have six terrific children. We have a strong marriage. Our church family is a great blend of fellowship and support. We have our health. We have a warm house and food on the table. We have family that loves us. We have an awesome support system, filled with caring people that bring us laugher, hugs and friendship.
Thank you. Thank you for the many blessings. We know the true riches in this lifetime.

Oh, and I have to share this great quote from another blogging momma...
"Prayer...When life gets too hard to stand...kneel."
True. True. True.
If you want to read more of her gems, visit her site. It will bring you joy!
http://sophiacorbridge.typepad.com/sentimentsbysophia/

Now, let's find the joy today. Wrap it up and share it with someone else! 'Tis the season afterall.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Have a fun filled, turkey eating day!
When you are gathered around the table, remember to count your many blessings.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Gratitude

This article touched me. Perhaps it will speak to you?
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DEMONSTRATE GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a feeling, but it is more than a feeling. Gratitude is also demonstrated by what we do; it may be a sacrifice in that we don't have an overwhelming feeling. Sometimes we feel grateful, sometimes we do not. But we must always be grateful, whether or not we feel it. We must do it, that is, demonstrate gratitude not only by words but also by deeds.

Gratitude shows that we set a value on God's kindness. “In the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7, NKJV). In the book of Titus, Paul explains that “when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:4-5).

God hates ingratitude but loves our being thankful. Ingratitude is so serious that Moses warned: “'If you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God'” (Deut. 8:19-20; cf. Lev.26).

How do we show our gratitude? By telling Him. But that is not all. We also show gratitude by living a holy life. Never forget that we are not saved by being holy, we are holy because we have been saved. But because we are still sinners, we easily forget and become careless.

Gratitude is demonstrated furthermore by our giving Him one-tenth of our income. Now tithing was made legal under the law. We, however, are not under the law but under grace. We are not required to tithe as a condition of salvation. But God promises to bless those who do (see Mal. 3:10).

This principle continues in the New Testament (see 1 Cor. 16:2). The principle of receiving blessing is also continued: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).

We show gratitude by sharing our faith with others. What if our gratitude to God was summed up entirely by our witnessing to others? What gratitude to God would you have manifested until now? And, there is a glorious fringe benefit in sharing our faith: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6, NIV)

We thank God by the amount of time we spend alone with Him. We reveal how important another person is to us by the actual amount of time we give to them. How much time do you give solely to God by being utterly alone with Him and talking only to Him? There will be no praying like this in heaven. Are you happy about your personal prayer life? If not, do something about it now-start today!

We thank God by discovering what pleases the Lord. This comes by experiencing two things: walking in the light (see 1 John 1:7) and becoming acquainted with the ungrieved Spirit of God (see Eph. 4:30). When we discern what pleases Him we know better how to please Him!

We show gratitude also by our church attendance, respecting those God has put over us, and doing good works. This can include such things as visiting the sick, the widows, those in prison, or who are helpless. It includes feeding the poor or giving someone a ride to church. It may mean doing things in your church that nobody wants to do; cleaning up and whatever needs to be done.

Do you value the kindness of God toward you? For what are you grateful? If you cannot think of things to show how thankful you are, take the time to make a prayer list-or “praise” list!
Here are some suggestions to begin your list: for salvation, that He gave you faith, your church, your pastor, your job-income, your health, the Bible, what God is doing for you today and what He did for you yesterday.

When you begin to count your blessings you will see that the list is endless!

Adapted from “Just Say Thanks” by R.T. Kendall, copyright 2005, published by Charisma House. This book's life-changing message will enable you to discover the power of offering a sacrifice of praise during adversity, getting God's undivided attention, and receive a greater anointing by having a thankful heart and expressing gratitude. To order a copy click here http://cbw.strang.com/c.cgi?ProdID=6272&Source=SWSPON

God's character

We don't understand our current circumstances, but we understand God's love.
He brought us to this -- He will bring us through it.

Stronger.
Better.
Together.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Love

I love my husband. He is a good man. He is my best friend.
He makes me feel safe and cherishes me. And, even though this post set out to be about our love and relationship -- I can't gush about my man without touting his fatherhood. He isn't just a "father", he is THE daddy man! The kids and I are blessed.

I love you, babe. I pray daily that the good Lord allows us to walk hand in hand for many many years to come. Happy Anniversary!

We may be going through a storm right now, due to work situations -- but at least we are going through the storm together. Side by side, always!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Reflection

Jeff and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage and friendship next week (11/16). What an adventure it has been.

Some things we have done in the last 14 years, in no particular order:

1. We have said hello to many new family members and good-bye to some special members.

2. Jeff witnessed a violent day at work while we lived in Southern California. A disgruntled family member came into the hospital and killed 3 employees, before being captured. Jeff was right around the corner when his friend, the pharmacy director, was killed. The gunmen is now on death row in California.

3. We have celebrated the births of six wonderful children. What a joy!

4. We have made the hard decision to leave family and friends and explore a new home (Idaho).

5. We have lived through the nightmare of critically ill children, feeling a loss of control, while medical professionals are able to touch your babies more than you.

6. We made awesome friends in Idaho and built firm roots within a church community.

7. We faced another major move, much to our dismay.

8. We started on the homeschool journey. The people we have met along the way are amazing. The growth as a family is even better!

9. We planted new roots in Indiana and learned the meaning of Midwest hospitality.

10.We made it through a Masters program several years ago (Masters of Clinical science)- and are doing it again with the MBA program.

11.We are facing another life change as Jeff searches for a job after unexpected lay-offs claimed his position. God be with us.

In short, we have gone through some pretty stressful times as husband and wife. We've had to dig deep and steady ourselves on friendship that started it all on a blind date in 1990. We have been tested, berated and challenged. We have come out stronger, together.
And you know -- there are so many more good times than bad times. We are incredibly blessed. I don't ever want the dark times to shadow the sunshine we face each day.
God is faithful.

For those reading that did not know about the recent lay-off...please join us in prayer. This is an uncertain time for our family.

Love to all.

P.S. I can't forget to mention Paige's 9th birthday on 11/9. Happy Birthday to our curly topped baby doll. You were the best anniversary present ever!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The start of a new week

We are still here, despite Mother Nature's attempt at blowing Indiana off the map over the weekend. We had a HORRIBLE storm late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
Lots of damage. Trees, signs and utility poles down all around town. We were fortunate and didn't get any damage. We have some friends that lost part of their barn and many roof shingles. They also found their trampoline UP in a tree, and their horse trailer 10 feet from where they left it (on cinder blocks!)
Also, you may have noticed on the news that Evansville, IN lost 22 citizens due to a tornado that ripped through town in the middle of the night. We are a good distance from Evansville, but our prayers are still with the families. Tornadoes are never a good thing, but when they arrive in the middle of the night, it is always tragic. There is just not sufficient warning when people are sleeping. This is such bizarre weather for November, that's for sure.

Emily had her awards banquet for volleyball on Saturday. It was a nice afternoon. Em received "Most Determined" player for the team. I will scan their team picture and share it soon. She plans on playing again next season.

Paige had her costume fitting for Nutcracker on Saturday, as well her first rehearsal. It was a crazy, busy day!

Yesterday, Sarah her a gymnastics competition. She did remarkable. She performed on uneven bars for the first time. Her stats, for those keeping score:
Floor: 8.6 (she missed a flip, bringing her score lower than usual)
Uneven Bars: 7.3 (very good for her first time)
Beam: 8.6
Vault: Are you ready? An amazing 9.3!
She placed first in floor, beam and vault. She placed first for overall.
Her vault score was the highest, in all levels, for the entire performance!
It was an incredible experience for her. Pictures to follow.

I just glanced at the clock. I better scoot. I have to get Gracie to ballet class.
Her teacher changed some of the hours around, and it is throwing me off this morning.

Love, hugs and smiles to all!
K.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Until next year

I really dislike Halloween. Really, really dislike. It is a holiday that our family chooses to not celebrate, and around here, that makes us freak-like.
Halloween is big business in these parts.

For us, we cannot reconcile the history of Halloween with our Christian beliefs.
The kids attend our church fall party (games, music, food, fellowship and fun). We make candy apples and popcorn balls. They pass out candy to those that visit our home. It works for us.

Speaking of children that come to the home during Halloween....may I pull out some hair? We had 32 children visit our home last night (yes, I counted). Of those 32 children, only 4 said, "Thank you" when the candy hit their bag. Only 4! What is up with that? ::grumblegrumble:: I am *SO* glad Halloween is over.
Jeff and I have decided, starting next year, no more candy. We just don't want any part of the holiday. Instead, we will begin a new family tradition. We will go out to dinner as a family and see a movie.

On a positive note, today is November 1. Today is the day I allow myself to break out the Christmas music. ::grin::
I am listening to the CD, The Gift, by Kenny Rogers right now. Beautiful.

Hugs to all.