Thursday, December 27, 2007

Counting My Blessings One by One....

Don’t you just love receiving those Christmas letters in the mail describing how little Johnny mastered the 10th level of TKD and how little Suzy performed the role of a butterfly in the year end dance recital? You may be one to compose such letters and if you are, I don’t mean to misinterpret your intentions. It is great to keep up with friends but what if we sent out a list of our blessings for the previous year instead?

So that is what I have decided to do in today’s post and I challenge you to do the same.

Here is just a small list of the many blessings we are thankful for at our house:

He allows us to continue our teaching ministries at HGBCS.

He has blessed us with good health.
He meets our daily needs and not always our wants – He does know best.
He blesses us with people who have taught us the value of true friendship.
He keeps our home safe.
He continues to keep our older cars running and even provided when one tried to give up the fight. J
He provides us loving extended family members.
He surrounds us with friends who have the courage and boldness to take giant leaps of faith.
He gives me the opportunity to do what I LOVE to do each day – teach!
He blesses us with family vacation at the beach every year – love soaking up sunshine in His creation!
He blessed me with a spouse who loves me unconditionally.
He gave us a fearfully and wonderfully made son who has a huge heart for his creator.
He continues to provide water….man, the drought this year has made me realize what a blessing indoor plumbing really is.
He blessed us with home filled with laughter and music and quality conversation.
He blessed us with a fridge and pantry that generally contains a meal or two and always a gallon of milk.
I am so thankful that for the blessing of freedom – we just don’t know what a blessing this is in our country. Lord, forgive us when we take it for granted.
He blessed all in our country with the freedom to worship – Lord, help us protect this right in our country.
He blessed us with a church that preaches the WORD and is not ashamed to take a bold stand in our community.
I am thankful that TWO of my very best friends EVER – have crossed paths with my family again. (We are more richly blessed because of it!)
Above all, through His son, Jesus, He provides us grace and mercy….so that we can begin each day with a fresh start.

May God bless you richly in the coming year and may you pause to count your blessings in the next few days.

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Don't Miss It!

Luke 2: 1-7
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Don't you just love the Christmas story? Can you imagine being there in Bethlehem that night? I wonder how many busy townspeople missed out on God coming so near?

I have vowed to not do that in our home. I begin my shopping in September- sometimes earlier and I am always finished the day after Thanksgiving. For those of you who are retail professionals - we dub that day Black Friday.

I have the trees put up and the house decorated the weekend prior to Thanksgiving so that all of the extra stuff that can distract you is complete. That way we can focus on the true meaning of Christmas in our home. I really get disturbed to see how the prices escalate on the few HOT toys for the season or to see parents put so much emphasis on the items on their children's list. Don't get me wrong...we do Santa and we have fun with it but we keep it in perspective.

Christmas Day just comes too quickly....Don't you just love how for ONE day of the year it is as if EVERYONE worships? You see HIM in almost every face you see....and then after one reverent day - the world returns to its current state of "It's all about me!"

How about you? Will you be too busy to miss it?

Look for moments in the next few days when God will come near - reflect on them this season and savor them as we enter 2008.

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Mama, Do You Think.....

"Mama, do you think...?" I have to confess to you that sometimes those words scare me. As moms, we do not like to be caught off guard. I never know what random thought is about to escape my analytical son's brain and better yet flow through his lips. However, he has shown so much spiritual growth this year that it is a blessing to watch him process things through his spiritual eyes and compassionate heart. It is amazing how my view of the world and situations are influenced by the way he processes things.

I was reminded of that today. After running errands, we pulled in to the parking lot at Walgreens. I saw a gentleman who was collecting money for an alcohol and drug rehab program in a similar fashion that the Salvation Army collects during the holidays. Now I am not one to carry cash - we are debit card addicts - but there I sat digging through the contents of my purse, pulling change from every nook and cranny - including the console of our car. I passed a handful of change to my son and instructed him to drop it in the bucket as we entered the store. He did and began asking how long we were going to be in the store.

As we walked up and down the aisles, he complained - no I will be honest - he WHINED about being thirsty. To which I replied in my best mom tone - "Don't you think that I am thirsty too? I said that we will get something on the way out - now come on...I have to finish collecting the items on my shopping list."

We hurried along completing my shopping list, grabbing a Coke for me and a chocolate milk for my son, checked out at the register....and then the thought hit me that perhaps the gentleman outside the store was thirsty as well. As my son reached for his milk, I said take my Coke and on our way to the car give it to the man outside the store and tell him that Jesus loves him. He said, "But Mom, aren't YOU thirsty? Don't YOU want it?" I said, "I can wait and get something at home."

We exited the store and the gentleman thanked us again for our donation and I said, "We took the liberty of getting you a Coke - God bless you!" He thanked us and my son and I proceeded to get in the car.

As we pulled away, my son said, "Mom I know you were really thirsty and you gave that man your Coke. Mom, do you think after he drinks it, he will thank God for it instead of us? Cause it was really God who wanted you to give it to him and I know that is why you did it. I love you mom!"

What amazed me was that through all of it, I said nothing about feeling the Holy Spirit nudging me to share - it was my son's observation and analysis of the situation that impressed me and that he wanted God to get the glory and honor for my random act of kindness. (and rightly so...)

What will your children see in you this Christmas season? I want to be more like Him in 2008. Don't you?

Have a blessed weekend!