A place of encouragement:

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Up Close and Personal

I am reminded that although we may have a willingness to show our kindness to those in need............
 And that maybe we are the ones to show them love up close and personal........
 The one who is in need just may lash out and cause hurt and frustration.........
Sometimes it's better to show love and kindness from a distance. Let them know you still care. Let them know you are strong enough to walk away from the hurt but, not too strong to where you'll walk away for good. Strong enough to not be pushed around........It's that tough love that always proves faithful.

I am reminded that not every one knows how to handle love and kindness. Maybe due to the fact that someone walked away for good, never to come back. And although the pain is raw and the wounds are deep you must prove to be strong and faithful. Never wavering but always forgiving.

If you know TRUTH. If you Know the Son, He is your heart and He loves you up close and personal.......

He shows His love from a distance to the ones who lash out in pain and frustration. He is strong enough to turn away from the mudslinging and the angry hearts but, never too strong that He walks away from hope. He is HOPE. He has proven to be strong and faithful. Never wavering but always forgiving.........

Learning to love like the Son is not always easy. And sometimes you just have to walk away and give it to God.....As hard as it may be.......but your not walking away for good, your handing the lost over in prayer. And as you cradle them in words of love and hope, those words form a ladder right up to heaven.

The climb may not be easy for that lost soul....some may never take the first step but, you can bet the ones that do, they are being guided on every rung and every step of the way.

This is close to my heart. For I know so many who are very dear to me that refuse to hear the truth. Their hearts are hard and they refuse to see the way. He tells me not to give up, to love from a distance in prayer.............May my words form a ladder straight up to heaven. May they cradle the lost and soften their hearts. And as His love proves to be faithful, I too, will be faithful in forever prayer...........

An Old Recipe

You can tell when a recipe is worth keeping. The ones that are worth keeping will have crusted flour on them from being used over and over. The ink will be faded because they were that good to use again and again.
I've had this recipe for years. Tucked away in a small box. A box that wasn't quite full. One that I had before we were married. And I remember making this for my very first time and my family raving over how wonderful it was. My love for being in the kitchen started early. Mama taught me all she knew. Some of my most cherished moments are the ones in the kitchen with Mama.
I want to share this recipe with you. It was the very first bread I had ever made. It's funny that I remember stuff like that.......And sad that in some instances I can't remember a name......

Steam Line Batter Bread:
1 Pkg. Active dry yeast
1 1/4 C. warm water
2 Tb. Shortening
2 Tb. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 2/3 C. Flour

Dissolve yeast, add shortening, sugar, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Mix add rest of flour. Cover bowl and let rise 30 minutes. stir down batter. Put in a loaf pan or make a round out of it and let rise for another 40 minutes. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

 It's a beautiful bread. Perfect for soups. Fresh out of the oven with butter melted all over.......
Recipes are like old friends. They are worth spending time with. Worth holding onto, even if they have stains and look a little worn, all that just means they have stood the test of time. It's the ingredients that blend so well together, that keeps you coming back for more.


My Very First Give Away

Because I fell in love with the book "Kisses from Katie" I am having my very first give away! If you would like to enter Just click on my face Book Like box and leave me a note! I will randomly pick a number from my list of fans to select a winner! What's the prize you ask? Why of course it's the book Kisses From Katie and a Lang Wall Calendar!

The drawing ends January 5th, 2012. You will not be disappointed! This book will take you on a journey like no other. It will challenge your heart and open your mind's eye to see the stark reality we all choose to turn away from, myself included!

So tell your friends, your family about this great give away!

Blessings to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Book List

I love to read and I'm afraid I have to be honest, it's hard to find the time. But I believe your brain needs the exercise to keep it functioning at a somewhat proper level. Idle minds are the devil's captives. And I refuse to have anything captivate me other than my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! So with that said here is my book list for the month of January (of course my Bible comes first.) But here is what follows after His word:

Kisses From Katie I am actually almost done with this book but, I had to give it another shout. This is an amazing book! It radically changed my thought process. It showed me how much more I need to let go and give to God. It showed me how truly selfish I still am. But most of all it showed me the true story of a beautiful young woman whose faith is so great and the love for her Savior so strong that the  miracles keep flooding her life as evidence of her Trust in Him! An amazing read that will suck you in immediately! I plan on reading this again to my children as a morning read aloud for school.

Seasons of a Mother's Heart By Sally Clarkson, Heart to heart encouragement for Homeschool moms in every season.

31 Days to Clean Because I always need help in this area!

Akiane I'm intrigued with real life stories! I love to see God move in extraordinary ways! I love to see Him do the impossible through the least of these!

Left To Tell Another true story where God shows up in the worst of tragedies to unveil His faithfulness in healing the broken and devastated.

Keep your mind from idle time and pick up a good book. One that will fill your mind with words of encouragement and wisdom. One that will benefit your mind and soul. Anything less is a waste of time!

"We read to know that we are not alone." C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Here we are once again, the Eve of the Greatest story ever told. The ultimate gift ever given. And I want to share my heart with you........

There is an old man that lives not far from here. Him and his wife were snow birds from New Jersey. He had an orange grove he use to tend to just across the way.  From time to time they would visit. Always so kind, always smiling......And year after year they would come bearing small gifts for the kids. And we would sit and chat a while. I remember listening to his wife as she would reminisce about days gone by and how quickly they flew. I always made them a Christmas basket filled with goodies. And we grew close over the years, 17 to be exact.

Two years ago his wife passed away........My heart broke as I read the letter explaining her passing. Tears fell on the hand written letter as I remembered that sweet lovely lady.

We received a call from our dear old friend, saying that he was in town for the first time in two years since she had died. Johnny gave me his number so that I could call and invite him for Christmas. I made the call and asked if he would like to come to church for Christmas Eve service. He paused and then the silence broke and he said "Now Kim I must tell you how much I appreciate you asking." I step in to say no prob......"Kim, No! you don't understand I want you to know how much it really means to me that you have invited me to your church! You see, in all my 80 some years I have never been invited to someone else's church. No one has ever asked."

AS his words ring in my ears I am brought to tears, because I've known him for 17 and I'm just now asking......

He quickly accepted and then called me back to decline......You see he had made a promise to his sweet wife that he wouldn't skip Mass, that he would always go for her until the day he dies. As he tried to explain feeling like all his efforts are in-vain..... I step in to say I understand.......You made a promise.......you have to do what you feel is right in your heart.

Now I tell you this story because you never know who has never been asked........Who may not have been given the invitation......For years we have been friends and I just assumed. I didn't think he/they would want to go. What does it hurt to ask? What kept me from giving the invitation? At this point he has declined but, I will ask again..........

My point is you never know who may be living right beside you, working right beside you, walking this life with you just hoping someone would invite them to open the Gift........

All is not lost he will be spending Christmas dinner with us and my heart is warm my soul is tingling.....This is what Christmas feels like. This is why we celebrate.

As I share my heart and my home this year for Christmas I can't do it with out sharing Christ!

I wish you all the Merriest of Christmas' may your hearts be filled with His peace and Joy. May we bring the manger out in front and place the gifts in the back. and as your out and about or just inside preparing your home think of that one person that may have been there all along and you never asked............

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Am Being Stretched

There are those times in life when you feel the pull and the tightness of being stretched, being molded. And sometimes it's uncomfortable.....Most times it's uncomfortable but, if we stay where we are than how can we be His child?

He who came down off His throne of comfort to lay in a dirty,cold and dark manger. The one who walked the waters and calmed the storms. The one who walked from town to town healing the blind, the sick and dying. All of this while he was no where near being in comfort.

As I walk from town to town buying gifts I fear I'm losing sight of the GIFT..........This is not what He wanted. For all the focus to be away from Him. For us to make this into something material. I'm being stretched and it hurts, it's uncomfortable. My kids will not be disappointed this year. They will not go with out. and what if they did? Would they really be with out?

I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Kisses From Katie". And if you want to be stretched, if you want to be challenged.....I challenge you to read this amazing true life story about a girl who walked away from her very comfortable home with all the material things she could ever want. She walked away from everyone and everything she ever knew. To a place called Uganda. She left it all, walked away FOR the love of her Savior. The GIFT.

And I am put to shame. I am ashamed of myself. It's so easy to talk the talk but, to actually walk the walk. My dear friends we have no clue over here on this side of the great blue and green ball. No understanding of what it's like to go with out. what it's like to have a dirt floor for your bed. No clue what it's like to go with out food, water, Tylenol, clothes or shoes. I am selfish and spoiled and my soul needs molding. As the Potter molds His child it hurts. It's uncomfortable........And I feel the muscles tighten deep with in my soul. I'm being stretched.

As much as I try to make this Christmas more about the Christ Child my efforts have all been in vain. I would be ashamed to show you all that was wrapped and ready to be put under our tree. I am  ashamed to tell you that I have stressed about buying the perfect gift. I am ashamed to have put The GIFT, The Christ Child last on my list of things to do.

I am being stretched.......

And I must tell you that after I finished writing this post I popped on over to the Mentor to see what her heart was beating to share, And the words  ever bold, ever bright typed across her post read When Your Christmas Stretches you. You think it's coincidence? That maybe I read her post first? Not a chance! I so love my God and how He works to put things together, the great and the small!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unto You

I have been pondering this gift giving we all do at Christmas time. I've seen where some have chosen not to give any gifts at all and I'm okay with that......I understand where they are coming from. I should be so brave. For the last couple of years I am strongly being pulled away from the monetary and wanting more of the momentary....

And yes I did go shopping this year. I had fun picking out the things that I thought my children would enjoy. And as I wrapped each one I could envision their reaction and the smile that would light up their eyes. I struggled at times to pick the perfect gift for some of my loved ones. But to me they are worth the struggle.

I don't believe I will ever completely get away from the gift giving at Christmas time but, I can see changes coming to the way I/ we give.You see I believe that it's important  to give a gift, but more importantly to learn how to receive the gift. I believe it's important to find the right gift......I believe it's important not to give too many gifts.......I believe that the most valuable gifts are the ones when you never had to spend a dime. The gift that means the most is the gift of your time.........

And as the years go on I believe He is teaching me how to give. How to live this life, giving of myself unselfishly. For it's not the toys they will remember as much as they will remember where you were at the gift giving time. Where your heart lies when you give and receive.

And where is your heart? As we come closer to the Greatest Gift ever given, have you already received? The toys and the gadgets may make the fleeting moments busy with excitement....But when the excitement has worn away what comes next?

You see the actual gift is is knowing you need the Greatest gift giver of all.

He didn't come bearing gifts, He was and is the gift. The greatest gift ever given. His life, for your life. And wouldn't the best Christmas present be the one where you find Christ under your tree?

UNTO YOU............

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Sunday, December 11, 2011

And Wasn't It Just Yesterday?

I've seen the days come and go, fast and slow........but no matter how slow a moment, when it's in the past it takes on speed and becomes a distant memory. I look at my Sweet Butterfly Girl and I wonder where on earth did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday she always had to have a purse and hat to match?

And wasn't it yesterday when  my Sweet Sunshine was dressed in cowboy boots and pig tails, on a mission to let the world know how beautifully bold and determined she was.

And wasn't it yesterday when little man was stuffing his face with marshmallows and I was nervous cause marshmallows can choke little men. And I'm wondering, has he out grown the "I always want to be your baby." Cause I never hear it any more......But then again I never ask.

Now I have to look up at who was once a little blonde, curly headed, shy little man.......And now he holds me in his arms.
And I'm wondering if I'm the only Mama who looks at her own child and wonders how in the world did we get here, at this moment in time? And did God really let me borrow them this side of heaven? How on earth did all of this happen at the speed of light? I find my self trying so very hard to slow it down but, they are starting to take flight one by one.

Until we come full circle.....And wasn't it just yesterday, I was holding my Daddy's hand. Wasn't it yesterday I was snuggled up close to Mama on the couch? I know it was yesterday my sister and I  were playing under that big ole maple in the back yard.

I watched a dear old friend get baptized today. He has cancer. He accepted the Lord back in May. That's when his family thought it was the end for him. And oh how his story has just begun. He ended up bringing his whole family to church and they have been sitting in front of our family every Sunday now.....And we've grown close...His story has captured my heart. As I sat there and watched his story unfold into another chapter today, watching his daughter follow right behind him in believers baptism......I was filled with tears of JOY.

And I couldn't help but think for him.........'How in the world did we get here, at this moment in time? And did God really let me borrow her this side of heaven? How on earth did all of this happen at the speed of light? I find my self trying so very hard to slow it down but, she has already taken flight'.....

My dear friend may not have much time left here this side of heaven, oh but the time he has been given these last few months have been worth more than all the gold the world could ever offer. And his story doesn't end here. His story continues inside the gates of that Beautiful Crystal City where the streets are paved with gold and the time there has no end.

My dear friend you may not have much time left here this side of heaven.............But God's grace can pick you up and set you in flight.  Your story doesn't have to end here.........

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Friday, December 9, 2011

No Such Thing As A Small Gift

Sometimes moments in life catch you unaware. They take your breath away. And in my heart I couldn't say no. I just needed to know for sure, we needed to know that this would be the right thing to do. That this is where God wants him. The kids were excited about this possible adventure. But my man and I were still apprehensive. Only because we didn't have much information to go on. And it was all so new, so foreign............

Then Gentle Giant comes in the room with his bible opened to Matthew 25:40 and he reads........
And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.
We say YES and they come bearing  gifts, These souls from another world. And as they come in through my "Open Door" I can see it in their eyes. This place is not quite what they are use too.  As I see their first reaction I am overwhelmed with emotion. Oh how we take this life for granted.........Over here, the land of the free, where the grass is green and the sun shines more often than not. I have no room to complain, the right to moan and groan is not mine.

And I believe she chose her American name to be Leslie. This Teacher that brings (sometimes) 14 children at a time over from the far away land of Korea.
The child we are hosting, his American name is Daniel......His birth name is Kim.......His English is rather good. I was worried about what to feed him. But God is good and Daniel loves American food! And you know I love to cook! We will be making him a part of our family for 3 months. Learning and growing together.

As I walk Miss Leslie out side I am amazed at the height of her gratitude........and she goes on to say, " In all my life I have never, ever seen a home like this, where the sun always shines, the grass so green beneath my feet, and the view is post card perfect!"

And I am ashamed of myself for all that I take for granted......So I try to explain to her what "taking for granted" is and how spoiled we Americans are but, my words just get lost in the beauty she is drinking in. So I close my mouth and let her drink it in..........And as she looks around her words keep rising into the crisp air....... "Thank you, I am so thankful to you for taking Daniel in. I wish there were more than words to express what I feel."

While we have this brief moment, she tells me a little bit about herself and her two children and how she has been teaching / tutoring for 18 years. It was nothing like I have ever felt. I was immediately drawn to her and so curious about  her world in which she came from. And I knew that if she were to live here we would be the best of friends.
Before she leaves she tells me she will be flying out Monday for Korea and she hands me a gift. As she places it in my hand she looks around our home as says "this is such a small gift." I look her straight in the eyes and make sure she knows that I meant what I said when I said "There is no such thing as a small gift!"  She couldn't possibly understand, she has already given me so much more than she could ever know. As we hug good bye we both insist on keeping in touch through e-mail and skype.  And who knew I would be blessed with a friend from half way around the globe........God knew.

 And as this adventure begins I am excited to see the gifts that God has in store for us all....... And if your in our neighborhood please stop in and meet Daniel!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spun In Heaven's Gold

As the evergreen cradles the butterfly, and the trough cradles the Savior.....We usher in the miracle of all miracles. And I wonder how one can not see the miracle wrapped in a chrysalis.....This fuzzy little creature we call a caterpillar takes on this strange state of being, spun in gold until it arrives at it's perfect form or state. Until it's beautiful wings are ready for flight.

And that baby sent down from above, spun in heaven's gold, cradled in His Mama's arms until it's time. He brought with Him a gift.  He could only give this gift after He had arrived in perfect form and spread His arms, stretched across the tree of life. This gift will transform you, if your willing to receive it. If you open it........

And as your being spun with Heaven's gold day after day, He'll open his arms and tell you it's time....It's the perfect time to spread your wings and take flight. And unto him you will fly and you will be made new.

And it takes faith to believe in miracles. But it's the faith of a child, that's all it takes. Even faith as tiny as the smallest of mustard seeds.

Having faith is not what you can see. It goes beyond what you can feel or touch. It's knowing that once you believe you will see the transformation. It's having strength in the hardest of moments and knowing it's not of your own. It's having just the right words at just the right time and knowing you were never that articulate before Him. It's finding out that your test results are life threatening but, through prayer, a miracle takes place.

For you don't see the worm as it changes to a magnificent butterfly until it's already been done. And doesn't this transformation take a life time?.......We will never be perfect this side of heaven.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 
2 Corinthians 5:17

But one day heaven......It's been 20 years since I opened my gift. And some day I will spread my wings and fly way up beyond the tallest of evergreens........

Have you opened His gift? Do you want to stay like the worm, never changing, never growing? Or be transformed like the beautiful Butterfly?

I chose to be spun in Heaven's Gold.

A Step Stool To His Lap

It seems I find more of my days are about chasing down what needs to be done. Hurrying up to finish what's left. And they  can wear you down. These "catching up moments"............
She is a blonde, curly headed, marker on her face, pants on backwards, ball of energy. And she is always trying to catch up. To step up to where I am, to do what I do....And I wonder as I watch her, as I watch all of them that God has blessed me to birth into this world.........
As they watch me hurry, as they watch me get flustered, as they watch me trying to get caught up.....They are learning my habits, watching my bad days and learning how to live this life......how I handle this life. How I accept each moment.
And sometimes....most times I need a step up. Some help to reach higher. To go beyond myself and this world that I so often think revolves around me. Higher to the one who gave me grace in all of my past moments......A step stool to His lap, so I can remember how to slow and give grace......And as they watch me, they will learn that they too, can use that very same step stool. As often as they would like, all day long if they need.

Remembering to slow in Grace this Christmas, to all around me.........

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Evergreen, God's Tree

I could live in a forest of pine trees and be completely happy. I've been smelling pine needles all day. Sticky sap all over my hands and loving every minute of it. There is just something about the evergreen, the fragrance alone makes me swoon.......
The Evergreen represents Eternal life.
It's Triangular shape represents The Trinity: Father, Son and The Holy Ghost.
The lights represent the stars in the Sky
The Star on the very top represents the star of Bethlehem.
The Christmas Tree began over in Germany. There was a monk in the 7th century that had used the triangular shape of the fir tree to describe the Trinity. He came from Devonshire to teach the Word of God. The people there began to revere the Evergreen as God's Tree. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside down, from ceilings at Christmas time, in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

In the early 16th century it is said that Martin Luther decorated a small Christmas tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.
Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word...... And some people call it religion. I call it LOVE. I call it LIGHT in this dark world. I call it a way of LIFE....The only way to LIFE EVERLASTING. It's nothing you can do. It's already been done for you.......

This tree that you put up every year, what does it mean  to you? Other than lights and ornaments from Christmas' past, Why put it up? Why celebrate? Why go through the motions if you have no known reason? What is your purpose? And where does it lead you every year? Does it lead you HOME?
And I've come to the conclusion as to why I love these trees so much.....The smell alone makes me feel safe and secure. I love these trees so much because they are "God's Trees"....... The perfect symbol to celebrate the coming of a King......to celebrate everlasting life.......And if certain smells could whisk you away to another place in time, I believe the smell of the pine brings me home...Home to that babe in the manger....Home, where His Grace covers me white as the fallen snow.......Home, underneath the light of Bethlehem's star.......Home, to heaven's child......

The Great "I am."

I Can Begin With Me

As we walk through Advent this year I wanted to share with you our journey. We have always shared Christ with them. Always told them that the Babe in the manger, He is why we celebrate. But as the years go by it never seems to be enough......I don't ever want Him to get lost in the tinsel and the lights. I never want him to be buried beneath the presents, boxes and bags. I want them to remember our Christmas' were all about that baby in the manger. And that although the gifts are nice, His GRACE is so much more.

My Sunshine girl made the advent calendar. We both wanted to put something in the pockets.....We thought for a while, then I remembered the "Jesse Tree". I went Here, the place where I am mentored. This woman can make the plainest of words sound so beautiful. Another place I find Grace....

And as we read a story for each day, we hang one of these ornaments on our Jesse tree. Today we will be getting a tree down from the attic that will be perfect.........The stories are our roots planted deep. They start at the beginning and show the Christ child all the way through. How He has always been there....All along.

And that's all He wants......He wants us to find the real meaning. He wants us to celebrate His coming.  And haven't we lost sight? Haven't we gone mad? With gifts and knocking people down. With pepper spray and guns......All in the name of Christmas....

My heart is hurt. His heart is breaking.....I've been asking what I can do.....How can "one" make a difference? I may not be able to change the world......But I can begin with me. And so here we are making the time...taking the time to usher Him in. The Christ child, the one who came for you and me. The gift that could never be out given. The gift that's worth more than the silver and gold under your Christmas tree. And you don't even have to stand in line to receive Him. No waiting for Him to go on sale. He has paid the ultimate price. Given freely to you. There is more than enough of His Grace Giving Love to go around.

That the whole world may know....that the whole world can hear........The reason we celebrate, the reason we give is because He came down to where we are and GAVE it ALL.