Category Archives: faith

Christmas Eve

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I just want to take a moment to send out some prayers to all of you for a happy, healthy Christmas season.  We aren’t traveling for Christmas this year, and while I miss my family it is nice to host a small
Christmas celebration here at our new home with my mother-in-law.

I leave you now with a Christmas prayer…

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth
~
Philippians 2:8-10

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Love Letter…

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A love note to my husband.  When’s the last time you wrote a love letter to your significant other?  Give it a try and see what happens…

Dear Matt,

You wouldn’t believe what I’m doing right now.  Listening to DMB… shocked?  Would it surprise you to know that when we’re separated for whatever reason, I listen to Dave just to feel closer to you?  And you thought I didn’t like them.  My secret is out.

Six weeks ago our marriage was attacked on all sides.  We were not prepared for this battle and it almost ate us alive.  I am now ashamed to say at the time I was not hopeful we would make it.  I was done, out the door.  You said you wanted to fight for us, but I wasn’t sure.  Many nights I spent on my knees, praying for us.

And then, slowly… ssllloooowwlly… things began to change.

We began to talk to each other.  Really talk.  We looked each other in the eyes when we spoke, and we said things we had held onto for years.  We slowly felt more and more connected to each other.   I was literally feeling the shape of my heart change toward you.  I truly believe we are witnessing how beautiful and sacred marriage can be.  We are meant to be together, and He’s not afraid to show Himself in our marriage to tell us that when we need to hear it.

I believe in miracles, and I truly believe our relationship today is a miracle in progress.

I am so excited to move with you to Cincinnati in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! Wow.  For a while I did not understand why we were being called to move during a time of such turmoil.  I would literally ask out loud “Lord, why NOW?? Why? Why would you move us to a different city during the fight of our lives??!”  I had resolved that I may never have the answer to that question.

Now I can see the beautiful truth beginning to unfold before us.  I believe we are supposed to physically leave this city, this house, this state, and completely start again.  How many times do you get a chance like that?? Not many, but we have been given this opportunity.  Together, we will pack up our memories of this home, hug friends good-bye, and leave the past in the rearview mirror.  Together, we will turn the key into a new chapter of our lives.  We will explore this new city together and create all new memories.  Together.

I love you more today than I ever have, and for that I am so thankful.

Oooh- my favorite song is playing!! Do you remember this one?

I walk half way around the world,
Just to sit down by your side.
And I would do most anything girl,
To be the apple of your eye.

Troubles they may come and go,
But good times they are the gold.
And if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

Any place you wanna go,
Know I’ll be next to you.
If it’s treasure baby you’re looking for,
I’ll search the whole world through.

Know troubles they may come and go,
But good times they’re the gold.
So if the road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

When the storm comes,
You shelter me.
And I don’t say a word,
And you know exactly what I mean.
In the darkest times,
You shine on me.
You set me free.
And keep me steady as we go.

So if your heart rings dry my love,
I will fill your cup.
And if your load gets heavy girl,
I will lift you up.

Troubles they may come and go,
But good times be the gold.
So if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

  Here’s to falling deeper in love with each other every day!

XOXO

Walking through the Fire

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Get ready for a long post.  There, you’ve been warned.

I would like to start with Psalm 25, which I have been reading as if my life depended upon it.  As if I needed to read it in order to put one foot in front of the other lately.  And frankly, it has been exactly that.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord,[c] is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God,
    from all their troubles!

AMEN!!

Have you gone through a season when you thought you were being eaten alive? Eaten alive by the enemy, that is?  When everything you thought you knew was no longer safe, was no longer stable, no longer made sense? 

Have you been there?  By “there” I mean a place where you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror.  I’m not talking about seeing that donut transfer to your hips before you’ve completely digested it- I’m talking about looking in the mirror and literally warping into the worst version of yourself right before your very eyes.  “There” meaning you can’t stand to be in the presence of couples.  Couples that you’ve been friends with for years.  Couples that you love dearly and they love you in return, but finding yourself looking at them in judgment and resentment.  “There” as in waking up with tears running down your face, and having a permanent makeup-less streak on your cheeks until your head hits the pillow that night.

  I know there are those of you that know exactly what I’m talking about.  I know because I’ve talked to you.  I’ve spoken with those who have made it out alive.  And it gives me hope.  I’m not talking about people who have gone through the fire and walked out unscathed.  I’m talking about the nitty gritty, lonely, embarrassing details.  What scars do you have?  What are you STILL working on?  How did you fall victim to the enemy to the point where you never thought you’d recover?  How are you a work in progress?? 

One of my mentors, Beth Moore has provided me with this hope recently. It’s not the first time. And I know it won’t be the last.  If I haven’t shared the link to her blog previously, here is it again.   

Why is it that when we hit our bottom he is ALWAYS there to show us he has not left us?  Not for one millisecond.  He is there in our deepest, humiliating, hateful thoughts.  And He is there to love us and forgive us.  No questions asked. 

Recently, while perusing my favorite mind-numbing website, Pinterest, I came upon a lovely quote by C.S. Lewis:

To be a Christian means to forgive the
inexcusable because God has
forgiven the inexcusable in you.
 

 

Thanks, C.S. Lewis.  I needed that.

Ups and Downs

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With marriage comes ups and downs.  Over the last two weeks, my marriage as experienced both.  A little over a week ago my husband lost his job.  It was something we had been anticipating, but it doesn’t make the news any easier to digest.

Growing up, my father’s employer was constantly getting bought by larger companies and inevitably the call would come, and inevitably he would get laid off.   I am not exaggerating when I say within my lifetime my father has had over 15  job titles.  He could write a book about it.

Looking back, I’m sure my parents experienced nights of uncertainty.  Uncertainty about money, uncertainty about food, uncertainty about our family’s future.  My parents did an unbelievable job at sheltering my brother and I from these uncertainties and for that I am so thankful.  Don’t get me wrong- we had tight times, but their goal was for my brother and I to have a childhood as stress-free as possible and that’s exactly what they did.

It is with these lessons in my heart, I know that my husband and I will get over this hurdle.  With the Lord’s help, the two of us get can through anything.  That’s the beautiful thing about marriage: it’s the two of you against the world.  I see these experiences as an opportunity for us to cling to each other in support and love, or times that can drive us apart into resentment and anger.  The latter has the power to eat a relationship alive and spit it out, leaving one another unrecognizable; however love is far more powerful and that is the choice we make. 

Just as the words our pastors read over us on our wedding day state,

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Now that I’ve covered as much of the “down” as I care to, there are great joys to celebrate!  One of them being all the time we get to spend together!  Matt used to work Saturdays, and now we have our weekends free to be with each other.    A great big, GIGANTIC positive is that Matt also graduated last weekend with his Masters in Management.  What a glorious accomplishment to celebrate after such a negative week!  Here we are on his graduation weekend:

Doesn’t he just look smart in those threads?

So, I leave you today on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to go for a nice, long walk with my husband. 

GOD BLESS!!

Easter Project

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Is it just me, or were we just celebrating the New Year?! I can’t believe this Sunday we will be celebrating Easter.  Just as last year, we are celebrating by gathering with Matt’s family.  Last year I made these really fun bird’s nest treats and I would love to share them with you.  This is a great activity to do with children as well!

Here are the ingredients you will need to get started:

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • shredded wheat (six large “loaves”)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (also a great opportunity to melt down leftover chocolate Easter bunnies)
  • wax paper or cooking spray
  • cookie sheet, muffin tin, or ramekins
  • Cadbury mini eggs or jelly beans (for eggs)
  • Recipe yields 12-15 mini nests

Step 1: Put six “loaves” of shredded wheat into a large bowl .  Crunch them up (or have your child crunch them) into flakes.

Step 2: Add 1 cup of coconut to the shredded wheat, toss until mixed well.

Step 3 There are a few different options with this step:  1.) Using a cookie sheet/metal tray covered with wax paper or 2.) Using a muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray or 3) Use a ramekin sprayed with cooking spray.  The cookie sheet option DID NOT work for me, but it may work for most skilled bakers.  My favorite option is to use ramekins because each person gets their own container.  Plus, it’s a lot easier to create the shape of the nest with the muffin tin or ramekin.  So for step 3, prep your pan of choice.

Step 4: Use a double boiler (or a heat-safe bowl set over pot of bowling water) to melt 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Step 5: Pour melted chocolate over wheat mixture and mix up until the chocolate evenly coats.

Step 6: Form the nests, either in the muffin tins or on the tray. Make sure to make a little center for your eggs.

OR…

Step 7: Put in your eggs and put in the fridge to harden. If you used a muffin tin, use a knife to “pop” out the nest after it’s hardened

This is how my tray of bird’s nests looked:

 If you use the muffin tin, the nests will have a more structured form, like this:

If you do not use a muffin tin or ramekin, the nests will be more free form, like this:

This is what the nests looked like in a ramekin:

To make this project even more kid-friendly, there is a special book to read along with this project.  It’s called The Story of the Easter Robin, by Dandi Daley Mackall.  You can find it here.  This is a beautiful story about the reason the Robin has a red breast.

Here is a great excerpt from the story “The thorn gave way. And as it came out a drop of Jesus’ blood fell onto the robin’s breast, staining it red from that day to this.”

I hope you all have an amazing last week of Lent and a special Easter Sunday with those you love.

GOD BLESS!!

2012

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I have a nasty habit of writing blog posts and never publishing them.  Out of fear, mostly – fear of being exposed and vulnerable.  I know this is the enemy gaining control, and unfortunately he has been winning in this area.  Let me preface this post by stating I am not qualified to give anyone advice;  please know I am only speaking from my personal experiences.

What are your New Years resolutions? What are you adding to your already hectic life?

More exercise?
More fruits and veggies?
More date nights with your special someone?

While these are all admirable resolutions, this year I am resolving to lose the fears the enemy has put in my head, to take away the enemy’s control over so many aspects of my life.  I know from experience that discernment, honesty, and forgiveness are the tools I will need to make this a reality.

I could reserve the entire year of 2012 to write about forgiveness.  The power of forgiveness has impacted my life beyond words.  I thank the Lord for His forgiveness of my sins- past, present, and those I will most surely commit in the future.  I also thank Him for softening my heart to allow me to forgive those who have hurt me.

Throughout my life, I’ve learned (the very hard way) that my inability to forgive has an unimaginable ripple effect.  I am positive it has affected people I have never and may never meet in my lifetime.  That’s how powerful it is.  I negatively affect someone with my anger, and that person carries it to someone they care for, and so on and so forth.

Thinking about it can be entirely overwhelming.

While I could dwell on how many relationships were poisoned with my inability to forgive, instead I choose to focus on the moments of charity in which I gained the ability to forgive, and how quickly I should make that decision in the future.

Discernment and honesty have also been key pieces to heal any brokeness in my life (Do not think I am in any way completely healed; while I have worked tirelessly to heal my wounds, a deep-rooted scar can sneak up on me when I least expect it).  Discernment is crucial for me when determining when the enemy is trying to destroy me and my relationship with Christ.  Having trustworthy individuals in my life is also imperative.  I trust them with my life, because my life depends on their ability to be honest with me.   These individuals were able to, and are still able to, tell me when I’m believing the enemy’s lies as opposed to the truth.  And He.Is.The.Truth.

These are the times when I hit my knees to the floor, and bow my head to the ground and repent like never before.

So now I must ask… In what areas of your life does the enemy control you?  Please don’t answer this question with the first statement that comes to mind.  Instead, get on your knees, forehead to the ground, and seek it out from the Father.  Be honest with yourself.  Then share your answer with someone you trust to keep you honest.  Then forgive.

I know this post was heavy, but I couldn’t let the enemy gain any more power over my life!  My resolution for 2012 is to practice discernment so in the end, the enemy will wish he never messed with me.  I hope the same for you as well.

GOD BLESS!!

Hunting!

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I never thought I would say this, but this week I went hunting with my husband.  I wasn’t armed, so I hung out in a hunting blind by myself…

Hunting is a big part of my family.  It is seeped with tradition and memories of family members before us.  This is something the men in my family could elaborate on further, but every family member can speak to the tradition involved.  Prior to last year, Matt had never hunted but he was instantly hooked (more of a fishing term, I suppose).  However, this year was his first experience with the Opening Day festivities!

It’s no secret that I am not an outdoorsy person.  My version of camping is a hotel room complete with a soaking tub.  So needless to say, I was not anticipating this experience to be a positive one.  In fact, the only reason I volunteered to go with Matt was because the rest of the men were busy that morning and he was planning to go hunting by himself.  Visions of Matt tripping on a branch, accidentally shooting himself, being unable to reach his phone to call for help, dying alone, and being eaten by forest creatures without a trace of his bones left on this earth instantly swirled through my mind.  Did I mention I can be over-dramatic at times?

Soooo… I agreed to brave the early morning wake-up call and brisk fall weather to make sure my husband survived the day.

Matt got me settled in my blind, complete with a propane heater and office chair.  Compared to other hunting stories I’ve heard, these guys live a pretty luxe hunting life.  We also had walkie-talkies that were fun to play with (cut to me making fun noises and generally amusing myself, while annoying Matt).  The morning started slowly, with the sun gradually lighting up the woods.

I saw a total of 5 deer throughout the morning.  There were two groups: one group of 3 deer, and another group of 2.  I also saw a herd (correct term??) of turkeys.  While I was more than hesitant to join my husband on this hunting adventure, after sitting in my blind for less than an hour I understood why people enjoy hunting.  The peace of God’s presence came over me in a way I have never experienced.  Witnessing the deer, birds, and turkeys was only an added bonus to breathing in the nature around me.  And of course, as if on cue, it started to snow just as the sun was rising through the trees.  The snow was so gentle it reminded me of lace, and I would be lying if I told you an icy cold tear didn’t slide down my cheek in awe of His creation.

His natural beauty reminds me of these verses: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give  to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be  troubled, neither let them be afraid ~John 14:27

I have said these things to you, that in  me you may have peace. In the world you will tribulation. But take heart; I  have overcome the world ~ John 16:33

While I was sitting in my blind, I took a series of pictures that I would love to share with you.  The falling snow was so delicate it’s unnoticeable in these pictures, but I hope you get a sense of my surroundings.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the deer feeding by my blind, but I was too busy observing them through my binoculars to snap a picture!

This is the first picture I took in the morning

You can barely see the trees through the darkness

In the light of the morning

God bless!