A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Circle

I wanted to look up the word family in the dictionary.....I needed to know what it said. I already know in my heart how it feels, to be a Family. I wanted to see if the definition matched what my heart feels. It was very vague to say the least. It said people living in the same house under one roof. Oh but there has to be  more, so much more than sharing a roof.
So as my finger slides down the page it points me to, not one word , but........
These four words I didn't expect to see........Family Bible and Family Circle, and yet their definition...is not what my heart feels.

Family Bible: A large illuminated bible to record weddings , births, and deaths.

Family Circle: The close members of a family and intimate friends.

When I think of family, my heart feels a strong bond, a feeling of just being able to be you. No pretending, no fake smiles when all you want to do is just "be". It's being annoyed and talking it through, It's the unconditional love that lets you back in when you thought you've been tossed out. It's being able to sit together and not having to say a word. It's laughing, it's crying, it's kissing and hugging. Holding on to what used to be and grabbing on to what's to come. It's never forgetting where your from and always knowing you have a home.

 My definition of family would not end with just the people under one roof........My family lives under many rooves and there are times that we all get together. Not as often as I would like, mostly on ThanksGiving and Christmas, but we still get together. When does it all start? I mean when do we stop coming together as much as we should? And why does it have to be only on holidays? And why do we feel that we have to call before we come over? And why can't we just pop in and grab a bite to eat when we want to? When do we start to feel uncomfortable and not feel at home with the ones that were always there? The ones that helped shaped our lives into who we are today. Oh may it never be.......May it never be that we forget about those that were there in the beginning.

I feel walls are building....slowly but surely building and dividing. I'm not sure where. I'm not sure how, but it's a feeling I get. And this is where the family Bible comes in, it's there for more than just the recordings of life and death. It's there for the reading and the drinking in. The filling of the soul. The bible forms one body to all who read and believe it. And if we are the body of Christ, shouldn't we all know how to live as a family?

Family: An intimate realtionship with a large circle that has formed and started by just two people. It's a Family circle made up of Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, cousins And in-laws, nieces and nephews. It's sharing a bond like no other, It's having their back and them having yours. It's kicking your shoes off and coming on in and staying a while. It's always knowing you have a place in this world that you can truly call home. It's keeping in touch even though the distance is keeping us apart. It's keeping in touch even though we are right next door. Family...........is LOVE!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Be A Sweet William In This Dark World

My Mama always called these flowers sweet williams. I don't know them by any other name. So if I'm wrong, please don't correct me. I'm kind of fond of the memory.

Among the weeds, among the thistles and thorns, this sweet william has found it's place.  For some reason even though the odds are stacked against it, the flower still blooms, it is still growing strong. It stands out among the rest. It's pleasant on the eyes.

I wanted to pick the flower and rescue it from it's surroundings. Take it inside and put it in a pretty vase, but I declined.........It's the only bit of beauty in the space it chose to live in. And for what ever reason it decided to plant it's roots there and hold fast.

And we are meant to stand out among the crowds.

“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18

No matter what, no matter how many weeds and thistles try to choke us out. We need to be strong....keep our roots planted in His word. For we are not of this world, we are sanctified in truth. And the only way to face this world is to dig deep into His word and soak in all the knowledge thats within the pages. Feed from it, get all the nutrients that your soul needs. Drink from the living well.

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2Corinthians 4:6

If Christ be with in you, with in your heart, then you are the light in this dark world. And you are to shine with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.

Stand out and Be a Sweet William in this dark world, stand out among the weeds, thistles and thorns.

And if I would of plucked this sweet william out of the ground, it soon would of died without the nutrients of the soil.
My roots are planted deep in the richness of His flawless word!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If I Were To Be Honest

I had a friend tell me today that I put her to shame because of all the things I post on my wall, all the things that I think I'm good at. And when I read her words, I felt like such a fraud.......Cause if I were to be honest, I mean really honest, would the picture I paint be just as pretty?
If I were to tell her that we had our first day of school today and it didn't go nearly as well as I wanted it to. It actually went rather bad. This sin soaked Mama raised her voice and lost her temper. The baby was fussy and I gave up and threw in the towel.......My computer wouldn't work and I questioned why me?  I threatened to send them to public school....... On the very first day.........
And if I were to be truly honest, I would tell her that I stayed grumpy all day.  Even after they had apologized, my mood, well it still didn't change..........
And if I were to be honest, I would tell her that my house is a mess right now, as I tap out my short comings for all to see. I would tell her that there are still dishes in my sink at 10:23 p.m. And my toilet needs scrubbing, that there is toothpaste in butterflygirl's sink. If I were truly honest, I would tell her that I didn't cook supper tonight. I didn't want to.........
I am ashamed......Ashamed for painting a picture that didn't portray all of me. Ashamed that I didn't paint the bad with the good. I want you all to know that I am REAL. I have the dust bunnies that never go away, and the days that don't turn out right.

I am the joy crusher when life doesn't go my way.

I am a Mama trying her best to get it right......and sometimes I do, But lots of times I don't. And this Mama needs A Soul Drenched Rain Washing , for her soul is filled with mud and it's weighing her down tonight.
I go to the kitchen  to get a drink and there on the fridge speaking louder than life, is my JOY magnet.

"Be joyful always"1 Thessalonians 5:16

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds " James 1:2

So my dear friend, I'm not who you think I am. My portrait is not painted in perfection, but rather painted with trials and errors and with a little dab here and there of Some artistic flare.  I'm a work in progress, my tapestry has yet to be finished.

With Him

I rise to the morning sun chasing the dew away. The house is quiet, my man is off to work, our quiverful, still in dream land........And this is when Him and I meet. When I talk to Him. When there are no distractions. This is the time I need to start my day. I can't make it through one day without Him......not one minute.
I use to think that I could....make it alone I mean.
Without His Word, the one that breathes life into being, I wouldn't know how to live........to live forever.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:7-8

So as I start our new school year I pray with everything that is in me, to give them the year they have been asking for......."Mama I'm so excited I can't sleep I wanna do school right now!" "Mama it's not going to be boring is it? " Mama are you gonna follow through with the fun stuff this year?" "Mama I wanna learn about..............

And as I open His word this is what I read, this is what I breathe in, this is how I live forever....

He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those who have young. Isaiah 40:11

With out Him I am just a flower that falls, like grass that withers away. But with Him I know how to live......To live FOREVER.

holy experience

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letting Go

Two months is a long time when your 6. It's a long time to be apart. They are inseperable. Most of the time little one is Gentle Giants shadow. He looks up to him respectfully and literally. I swear he grew into a man since he has been gone. I feel like I've missed out on so much.
You can actually see them growing right before your eyes. And no one really told me that this is how fast life would go. That it would travel at the speed of light. I'm trying to hold on......to hold on as tight as I can, but I feel I'm losing my grip. 
I know you have to let go, but not now.....Please, does it really have to be now? I'm not ready. And how do you really prepare your heart for the letting go, the letting go of your babies. I'm guessing it would take a lifetime, because I can't imagine that you could ever do it completetly. The letting go I mean.

 It took me awhile to fall asleep last night. Excited to have them all under one roof. And the memories, at least a thousand floating in my head of how little they all use to be. And this funny thing called life, and how this body is just a vessel for what really makes you alive. How this vessel can only hold on to your spirit for so long....and then it has to let go, to losen it's grip. And how you prepare for the letting go of this life.

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not  worthy of me. Who ever finds his life will lose it, ans who ever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:37

123. Sweet Time
124. This Funny thing called Life
125. Preparing to let go
126. Big Hugs
127. My Gentle Giant
128. His little Shadow

holy experience

Thursday, August 19, 2010

He Will Hear Your Heart

There are times when I don't know how to pray for my children and I want so much for God to hear my heart. Pray with His Word, let His word fall from your lips and rise into heaven. He will hear your heart. If your heart's desires are what He desires.

Here are 31 Biblical virtues to pray for your children, By Bob Hostetler
I borrowed these 31 Biblical virtues from another blog, another sister in Christ. I am going to make a copy and stick them in my Bible. Won't you join me?

1. Salvation
Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Is. 45:8, 2 Tim. 2:10

2. Growth in Grace.

I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

3. Love.

Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them. Ga. 5:25. Eph. 5:2

4. Honesty and Integrity.

May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection. Ps. 25:21

5. Self-Control.

Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do. 1 Thess. 5:6

6. Love for God’s Word

May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than gold. Ps.19:10

7. Justice.

God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do. Ps. 11:7, Micah 6:8

8. Mercy.

May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful. Luke 6:36

9. Respect.

Father, grant that my children show proper respect to everyone, as your Word commands. 1 Peter 2:17

10. Biblical Self-esteem.

Help my children develop a strong self esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:10

11. Faithfulness.

Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablets of their hearts. Prov. 3:3

12. Courage.

May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions. Deut. 31:6

13. Purity.

Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions. Ps 51:10

14. Kindness.

Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to every one else. 1 Thess. 5:15

15. Generosity.

Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age. 1 Tim 6:18-19

16. Peace-loving.

Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace. Rom 14:19

17. Joy.

May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Thess 1:6

18. Perseverance.

Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the ace marked out for them. Heb. 12:1

19. Humility.

God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility.

20. Compassion.

Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion. Col. 3:12

21. Responsibility.

Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load. Gal. 6:5

22. Contentment.

Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength. Phil. 4:12-13

23. Faith.

I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them. Luke 17:5-6, Heb. 11:1-40

24. A Servant’s Heart.

God, please help my children develop servant’s that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men. Eph. 6:7

25. Hope.

May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13

26. Willingness to Work.

Teach my children to value work and to work with all their heart, as working for you Lord. Col 3:23

27. Passion for God.

Lord, please instill in my children a soul that follows hard after Thee. One that clings passionately to you. Ps. 63:8

28. Protection.

Lord, please protect my children, guarding their course. Prov 2:8

29. Time Management.

I pray that my children would learn to manage their time well. Eph. 5:15

30. Fear God.

Father, I pray that my children may have a holy fear of you. Ps. 34:11, Prov. 9:10

31. Trust.

May my children learn to trust you, O God, with all their heart. Prov. 3:5,6

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Be One Who Follows Through

"Mama, when we start school are you gonna follow through?" The words ring hard in my ears. Because I know them to be true. I always start out strong. I have so many wonderful ideas. So many plans of all the great projects we are going to be doing. I can't get bitter, I can't be mad at her. She is right, I don't follow through. The books are all lined up.............
Planners are waiting to be filled, supplies are waiting to be used. Am I gonna follow through? Will I teach them what they need to know? Will patience come sit with us at the table? I start out strong, but then end up only doing what needs to be done. Only what we need to do to get by. No extras, no bells, no whistles, nothing to get them excited about learning. Nothing to keep them wanting more.
The floor has been swept, things have been organized, we even threw some things away. But am I going to follow through? Am I gonna take the time to read to them about far away lands, And about this land that I love? Am I gonna follow through with all of those science experiments they have been begging me to do? Is this year going to be the best year ever?
My heart wants to follow through. My mind says I should. I've even prayed about it. I'm certainly not proud of my middle of the year slumps I fall into; that I allow them to fall into.
I'm so thankful that He followed through........That He took our punishment, He took what was meant for us. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching who?  And who is learning more? Them or I? And it dawns on me...... they are learning. They are learning what's important, what's most important. They have learned that He followed through and it was finished.

This year with God's help, the one who follows through; I'm going to take my every day ordinary life, my sleeping, my eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering. I am going to embrace what God has for me because it is the best thing I can do for Him.  I will not become so well adjusted to my culture that I would fit in to it without even thinking. Instead I am going to fix my attention on God, and He will change me from the inside out.

These things I most desire:
To Be One who Follows Through

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Filling My Reserves

This flame will only flicker as long as there is enough oil to keep it burning. I wonder some days, if my light is burning bright enough.  Do I have enough oil? Am I keeping my lamp trimmed?

And He has told me that, "I am the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Niether do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on it's stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."
My Sweet Sunshine is in Butterfly girl's room, just before it's time to turn out the lights, reading a bible story to her and little brother. And this is how they fill their lamp, this is how they keep it trimmed. They are getting ready, getting prepared for their bridegroom. Just as the five wise virgins who remembered to take oil for their jars. They are filling their jars and filling their reserves so their light will keep burning.

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. Matthew 25:3

And the door was shut. They cried Sir! Sir! open the door for us! "But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don't know you.` Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 25:11-13

 When I am weary and tired, too tired to open His word, I am gently reminded........ when big sister reads and speaks His living word, and it echoes down the hall way and fills the room...... I am gently reminded that I should always be prepared, to not be foolish and have Him catch me sleeping. I am filling my reserves tonight so my light will shine tomorrow. So my light will shine through out the house tomorrow.

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

118. Little ones in bed reading the Bible
119. My little ones and their burning lights
120. His gentle reminders
121. Her voice echoing His word through out the house
122. oil lamp

holy experience

Friday, August 13, 2010

Soon It Will Be Her Turn

Sisters stretched apart by miles and wanting so bad to be together now. Big Sister has had her first child and this time is so important. A time to cherish. Middle sister, her arms are longing to hold her very first blood niece. The very first to the three daughters of a farmer's wife.

And I remember them, I remember them as little girls so sweet, so precious. Never thinking about this day, that they would have their very own little blessings. And I smile at each picture that pops up on my news feed. I've watched all three grow into beautiful young women. I've known them all their lives. Once their babysitter now their Aunt. And to middle sister, we have that special bond that has held on and held close through the years. I know how middle sister feels. I've been where she is. So far away from the ones you love. Especially at moments like this when just jumping in the car is not an option.

The IM pops up on my computer screen saying how frustrated she is, that she can't hold her now. She's not the next in line, she wasn't one of the first. I tell her just to hold on, hang in there, your turn will be soon. Soon you will beable to sweep that precious newborn up in your loving arms. And it will feel like you have known her all your life, you will never want to let go, you will never want to leave. There is just something so bonding between family when there is a first child, first grandchild, first niece. So let the count down begin and the pictures fly through cyber space, from cell phone to cell phone. Your turn will come......... Soon it will be your turn.

The pictures were taken by the youngest sister, Hillary Jenkins

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tucked Away In A Small Box

Tucked away in a small box filled with jewels that I  save only for Sunday's best, is a letter, a letter that I return to every now then.  The words scratched on paper, they are only meant for me.

And they came from his heart, written for my heart. The words fill my eyes and I melt. Oh how I love him. I always have, from the moment we met. I ran home to tell my Mama  "I found the man I'm going to marry." It was something I had never encountered before....Feelings so strong. Just a young girl not knowing where to go in this journey we call life. I wasn't looking for it. I wasn't aware that there could be anything like it. They always tell you "When you find it you will know, you will just know."

 After 19 years I still get butterflies inside when he walks through the door, I really do. Why do they keep coming back? The butterflies that entangle my tummy and make me feel all warm. It's because he loves me. Not because of the words written, but for the actions given. He loves me.

Always wanting to please me. Knowing that communication is key to a strong marriage. I tell him everything......My best friend. And he listens in the quiet of the night and gives advise. That's when he gives his love. A love given so freely. That's when the "I love yous" whisper through the room, when all is quiet and the sand man has found the ones already tucked in bed.

And though I'm not as young and slender as I use to be. The 5 blessings have left reminders on my skin that has been stretched thin. I let him know how embarrassed I am that I had let myself go this way, And he caresses me any way. He pulls me in close, like he's never gonna let go. He thinks I'm still beautiful anyway. He loves me anyway. Anyway that I am. My hair all a mess, my face not done.

It doesn't matter to him I'm still his princess, the one he met almost 20 years ago.

And he knows I'm here for the long haul. I'm here for him, what ever he needs I will be here. As I pour his glass of tea I'm thankful for this man God has given me. This hard working man who still wishes to please me.

And until the day that I'm no longer breathing and my heart is no longer beating I will adore him and pour his glass of tea. Because it's the little things that matter. The actions of love that really matter. So let the butterflies fly and the quiet nights come. I'm still in love....... We are still in love........

He Has Turned My Heart Upright

She fell in love right away, she knew it was going to happen, I knew it was going to happen....... to all of us. Even the one who wasn't sure, the one who was afraid to hold her, he fell in love. We can't imagine life with out her. With out that warm, fuzziness she gives us. And she is spoiled. That's what they say when you can't put a baby down.....
Our first three were a surprise. But our last two, we planned. Well, we gave it to God and He gave us another son and daughter. They are a gift. More than a gift, a true Blessing. I'm so thankful for the size of our family. I have grown so much. While raising them, I swear that sometimes they are raising me. And it's the passer bys that don't understand, that make comments. That wonder why we would want so many.
I truly feel that this is my calling. This is what he has called us for, a quiver full. And as the time ticks away I'm learning every day to enjoy every minute. And I do. They are so beautiful in my eyes. My life is full. I don't want for anything. My heart is over flowing with that special kind of love that's like no other.
My daughter asked me the other day, "Mama what's your favorite thing to do?" I didn't have an answer. I thought long and hard. There are so many things I like to do.
And it has occurred to me that being a Mama to my 5 amazing blessings is what I love doing best. And although my heart didn't start out right, I believe my heart has ended up right. I'm where I should be, I'm where God wants me to be. Children are not a hinderance or a duty. They are truly God's blessings flowing down from heaven. And when you try on a new perspective, see it through His point of view, through His living word, He will turn your heart upright. A quiverfull may not be right for you, but it sure feels right to me, to us.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:5

115. A Quiver Full of them
116. My heart turned upright
117. A love like no other

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Serenity of the Gift of His Merciful Grace

Have I told you before that dusk is my favorite time, right before the sun goes down. And did I tell you that if you were here with me, that you would often find me outside with my camera. Just to catch a glimpse of the Great Artist's masterpiece. Just to see how He chooses to paint the ending to a long day.
And the color was so vivid. It was beckoning me to come outside. Calling me to finish the day with the Creator. It never ceases to amaze me, always putting me in awe. With every stroke of His brush comes the serenity of His gift of grace.

Take the time, make the time to look for His gifts at the end of your day, and then thank Him. Even if  it was painted gray. In all things I give thanks. In my slow mornings out of bed, from the long night before rocking my sleepy head. For canning green beans that did not seal, To eating with family, a nice big meal. For kids being loud in the back seat, for chores that did not get attention this noon, For a daughter who just messaged me to come read your living word with her, But most of all I thank you for the Serenity of the Gift of your Merciful Grace.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Filling The Shelves

It's harvest time up home, when all the good things that I remember as a new wife and young mother, ask to be plucked out of the ground, picked off the vine or pulled from a tree.
 And that's when I begin, begin to prepare them for the winter. To fill my shelves. There is just something about having them all lined up, filling every empty space. My truck driver Daddy usually brings them down by the bushels. Everything from beets to peaches.
It's funny, once the shelves are filled it's hard for me to open that first jar. Because once I start there is no going back and soon my shelves willl be bare.........And I will have to start over again.

And I am Thankful..........

103. That I have shelves to fill
104. Beets
105. Green Beans
106. Peaches
107. Pears
108. Tomatoes
109. Berries, All kinds
110. Jars lined neatly in a row
111. His Mother, for teaching me how to preserve
112. The eighteen wheels that bring them here
113. Our family up home that grew them
114. Starting over again