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25 Days of Praise: Day 25

Today I am thankful for:
The Birth of Christ.

We have celebrated this occastion for many many years.
To many people, it is just a day to meet with family,
 open gifts, eat a feast and get a day off work.
But it is so much more. The King of kings, Lord of lords,
Prince of Peace chose to be one of us.
Chose to live in the confines of humanity.
Chose to pay the price. All for love.
And because of this, I can boldly
“Draw near with confidence to the
throne of grace so that we may
receive mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16)




25 Days of Praise: Day 24

Today I am thankful for:
A Fireplace.
Sitting by the fireplace, my eyes seem drawn to the brightness. The dancing flames somehow hold my gaze. It is relaxing and refreshing, draws me away from the every-day and incites reflection in my heart. This reminds me of Hebrews 12:2 which encourages “..fixing our eyes on Jesus…” Sitting at the feet of the Savior, I am drawn to the Brightness. His beauty holds my gaze, refreshes my soul, and carries me away from the every-day. But I can never enjoy the blessings of either the fireplace or the Savior unless I first take the time to sit and gaze.
Lord, don’t let me keep going without taking time today to sit at Your feet and bask in Your beauty.

25 Days of Praise: Day 23

Today I am thankful for:
Christmas Music.
O Come All Ye Faithful… O Little Town of Bethlehem… Mary Did You Know… What Child Is This… Do You Hear What I Hear… Hark! The Herald Angels Sing… It Came Upon A Midnight Clear… Joy To The World… What are your favorities?

25 Days of Praise: Day 22

Today I am thankful for:
Hunger and Thirst.
Without hunger and thirst, would I know my soul needs nourishment? Would it be possible for me to be filled with many things in this life and yet miss the blessings of being fed, truly filled and satisfied spiritually? Hunger and thirst, they are welcome. They cause me to look to be filled.
Isaiah 55:1-2  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.


Psalm 107:9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Luke 1:53  He has filled the hungry with good things
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.






25 Days of Praise: Day 21

Today I am thankful for:

A Strong Tower.

Psalm 61:2-3 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.


25 Days of Praise: Day 20

Today I am thankful for:
My identity in Christ.
No matter what I feel I am, what the world tells me I am or am supposed to be, I am who He says I am. I am forgiven. I am His. I am chosen. I am loved. I am redeemed. I am strengthened. I am fed with streams of living water.

25 Days of Praise: Day 19

Church Christmas Programs.
I love the excitement of preparation and practice. I love seeing the Sunday school kids in costume, reciting their lines and singing.  I love watching the parents and grandparents beam with pride and joy. But I especially love the reason we gather for the festivities: the birth of our Savior. That’s what Christmas Programs, whether extravagant or simple, are all about anyway. And that is what brings tears to my eyes each year as the lights dim and a miniature Mary and Joseph step out on stage.


25 Days of Praise: Day 18

Today I am thankful for:
Music that takes my thoughts from the daily grind to the feet of the Father.
Music can change my mood, refocus my outlook and center my soul. The song by Casting Crowns “If We’ve Ever Need You”  reminds me that I cannot do life my own way and expect a good outcome. My faith will shipwreck. I will all too quickly embrace idols. And my children will pay the price for how I have lived. Lord, I need you now…

25 Days of Praise: Day 17

Today I am thankful for:
Warm, cozy sweaters on freezy winter days. Being chilled, just short of frozen is miserable. Add one soft sweater and a hot cup of coffee. Its amazing how it can change my outlook on the day. What do you do to warm up on arctic-temperature days?

25 Days of Praise: Day16

Today I am thankful for:
Being able to see family at Christmastime.
Just like Mary & Joseph made a long journey, my husband, our kids and I will be going on a long journey as well. Ok, so the similarities stop there. We will not be loading a donkey with our luggage. We will be climbing into a comfy Expedition with cushy seats and plenty of room for all seven of us. And I’m pretty sure our accommodations at Mom’s house will more closely resemble the Hyatt than a stable. There is just something about spending time with loved ones at Christmas, sitting by the fire place and eating way too much. I am thankful for our roadtrip. All 925 miles of it. I am thankful for a husband who planned it all just to surprise me. I am thankful I get to take my kids, including my new daughter in law with me. And I am thankful I don’t have to travel on a donkey but instead have a nice, warm vehicle.



25 Days of Praise: Day 15

Today I am thankful for:
That my needs are met…. And much more… God’s provisions can be readily seen this time of year in our home. Under our tree sit packages of various shapes and sizes, wrapped in colorful paper patiently waiting for Christmas Day. We have come to expect this is just the way it is. But that is not so for everyone.
One child I was talking with recently was excited about the gifts wrapped under their tree. “We have 5 presents under our tree! One for my mom, one for my cousin and 3 for me!” excitement rang in her voice. My first thought “Only 5?” quickly brought my heart back to reality. I know a teenager who received nothing for Christmas last year. Nothing. That is a reality most of us do not have to face.
There is often a disconnect between what I expect and what I need. I assume life will always, and always has to provide the things I am used to having. But, all I really need is food, water and shelter. And for those things I am thankful. So, when God chooses to provide m…

25 Days of Praise: Day 14

Today I am thankful for:  Peace. No, not World Peace. I'm not competing for the Miss America title. This is a deeper peace. The kind that quiets my soul and carries me through life's trials. This Peace came at Christmas.
Isaiah 4:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given ...and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
This peace is not the usual run-of-the-mill kind. It's different, powerful even divine in nature.
John 14:27a "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives."
This peace passes all comprehension; calms my heart when logic says I should be stressed and despairing.
Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
This is a peace I am called to pursue and live.
Psalm 36:14 "...seek peace and pursue it."
And I am thankful for it.

25 Days of Praise: Day 13

Today I am thankful for:
A laptop, even if it is having problems right now.  And an extra computer to use while mine is in for surgery. And a husband who has the brain power to fix my laptop.  Yes, I could live without life's extras.  Life's luxuries.  And I realize that the fact that my home has not one, not two, but four computers means that I live with more wealth than the vast majority of the world.  I also realize the opportunities that I have because of all this.  So instead of grumbling about not having my laptopfor a few days and being confined to one spot with a desktop computer, I am choosing thankfulness.  What are you choosing to be thankful for today?

25 Days of Praise: Day 12

Today I am thankful for:
In-laws who live a godly example for me to follow. The term “in-law” just doesn’t seem a right fit for them with our culture’s take on such relationships. But, since I prefer to change that view, I will use the term to prove that in-laws can be an asset to a person’s life.
I am thankful for a father in law who sets an example of a heart dedicated to learning and living out the scriptures. For a mother in law who emanates the gift of encouragement and has truly opened her heart and become a mom to her daughter in law.

25 Days of Praise: Day 11

Today I am thankful for:
My husband. I know, I already mentioned him on day 2, but I am doubly grateful for him. Specifically, for how he puts up with his wife (I won’t mention her name) who insists on doing all the Christmas shopping  in one L-O-N-G day. We are talking not stopping until its done which can be translated not arriving home until around 2 in the a.m. A perfect gentleman all day: dropping off and picking up at the door, patiently waiting during deliberation on which gift would be best for each person on the list, and best of all letting his lovely wife and daughter sit in the warmed-up vehicle while he braved the C-O-L-D weather to load the treasures. Yes, this man deserves a second day of thanks! But I do know, the thanks also goes to God, for it is He who placed this man in my life, for better and for worse, which always corresponds to my attitude at any given moment. Today, I choose thankfulness.


25 Days of Praise: Day 10

Today I am thankful for:
“A” Day. (a.k.a. Ascension Day) Get your bags packed and your shades on, Girls! It’s going to be quick and bright. I can hardly imagine what that moment will be like. The thrill of the surprise. The Son in all His glory arriving for me and you! And like Cinderella carried away in a gleaming chariot minus the midnight curfew, we will be gone from this life.
Read I Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Today I am thankful for:
There will be a day with no more tears, pain, fears, and burdens. God will wipe away every tear from His people. (Revelation 21) I am reminded of this each time I hear this song by Jeremy Camp:
There Will Be A Day – Jeremy Camp
I try to hold on to this world with everything I have But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth That we will enter in this rest with wonders anew.

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears No more pain, and no more fears There will be a day when the burdens of this place Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face But until that day, we'll hold on to you always
I know the journey seems so long You feel you're walking on your own But there has never been a step Where you've walked out all alone
Troubled soul don't lose your heart Cause j…

25 Days of Praise: Day 7

Today I am thankful for:
Forgiveness of my sin.
“Iniquities prevail against me…” Psalm 65:3
“There is no soundness in my flesh
because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.” Psalm 38:3
“For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh
too much for me.” Psalm 38:43
“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130:3
“I have wiped out your transgressions Like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
“…though your sins are as scarlet,
they will be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson,
they will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous
to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9


25 Days of Praise: Day 6

Today I am thankful for:
People who remind me not to be a“Comfortable Christian”. While I definitely am thankful for the comforts in my life…my bed, fuzzy bathrobe, couch, heated floor, heated car seats, cappuccino, dishwasher, shoes…. I desperately want more from this life than sitting in comfort avoiding uncomfortable situations. It is in these situations that I am stretched and grow and can truly be who I was made to be.
Check out this video: http://vimeo.com/7769169

25 Days of Praise: Day 5

Today I am thankful for:
The freedom to worship God and the ability to be part of a body of Christ without fearing for my family’s safety. When I don’t feel like getting up on a Sunday morning, I only need to be reminded it’s a privilege, not a chore, to be able to go to church. Christians in other countries risk their lives to worship God with others.
Check out the Voice of Martyrs website http://www.persecution.com/, this really helps me with perspective!

25 Days of Praise: Day 3

Today I am thankful for:
Warm delicious soup on a cold wintry day…


Try this recipe on a chilly day:

Spinach Tortellini Soup

4 cups beef broth
1 cup frozen spinach
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
6 oz. cheese filled Tortelinni (dry)
1-2 garlic cloves, diced and sauted in butter
Garlic salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into pan and simmer until tortellini is tender. Enjoy!
(I used my crock pot on high for about 3 hours.)



25 Days of Praise

Somewhere in the midst of the mad dash between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a stirring happens in my soul. With turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie on my plate I name long list of things of which I am thankful for.


That list has barely left my lips when Black Friday begins the rush to splurge, buy, consume and want more, more, more. All in so called celebration of the coming of the Messiah. It’s the American way. And it just doesn’t seem to fit together. “I’m thankful for…”.and “I want….”

I’m not saying its wrong to want, obviously that’s not true. But it seems the thankfulness only lasts for a day or so when the flurry of wanting moves in and overshadows any thoughts of gratitude. Yes, deep inside I am still thankful for the basic necessities of life, but when the sale fliers arrive in my newspaper, my eyes get bigger than my checkbook. My wants turn into needs and I am suddenly not so grateful for what I have, but I would surely be grateful if I had this or that new gadget. Or that w…

Whining

Ahhhh! A warmish sunny Sunday afternoon in November. It had been weeks since I had been able to go for a walk outside, and winter would soon set in; I grabbed a jacket and a notebook and headed out the door. The sun quickly slipped behind a few clouds, but the fresh air felt good anyway. I climbed down some rocks to walk along the river; it is one of my favorite places to be. The river and the sound of the waves seem to quiet my soul and allow for reflection in my heart.

The sun was still hiding and with the air chilling, I slipped in a request for the rays to warm me. I continued to walk along the water, lifting my heart to God, seeking wisdom in trials I was facing and praising Him for the beauty around me. Again, I asked for the sun to shine. The walk did not seem “right” with out it. The sun just does something for me, warming my soul along with my skin. Getting chilled, I progressed from asking and began to whine. “Lord, let the sun shine…. Why won’t you let it shine now?...You’…
Noticing a low tire, my on-the-ball husband instructed me to stop at the gas station for some air on my way to work. He told me to go to the one on the west end of town because it has a tire gauge on the air hose and I could inflate my tire to the proper pressure. Easy enough, I thought and headed on my way.

I eased my car up to the air pump at the busy station and proceeded to unscrew the cap on the valve stem. The contraption on the end of the air hose did not resemble any tire gauge I had ever seen, but confident I could figure it out, I pressed the air chuck to the stem. I was sure I heard a rush of air, but I couldn’t be sure with so many people and other noises around me. Each time I pressed the lever to check the pressure, I noticed the pressure had not gone up, but down! What was going on? Something was wrong with my tire!

Noticing my confused look, an attendant came over to assist. He took the air hose from me and began to air my tire. “All done” he said after just a few momen…
A landslide. It took days for my mind to begin to fathom the situation before us. There were decisions to be made. Work to be done. Our church would never be the same. There was no time for delay. The day was set. “Dress Down Sunday” – wear your work clothes to church. We sat almost shoulder to shoulder during the service, most of us dressed ready to swing hammers and carry rubble. The songs had a certain sweetness to me that morning and the message was touching as well.
Despite all the destruction already begun and soon to be done around us, God’s character and truth remain unchanged. Amidst the tools propped and ready for action, a plywood wall roughed-in to make a smaller meeting room where we would worship for the coming months, no stage for the worship team, and a monstrous situation lingering over us, none of God’s truths were changed. He still loved us. He is still the God who can move mountains. He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is still sovereign.
We had (and s…

Just Call Me Frank

Just Call Me Frank
I love shopping. I really believe it is my spiritual gift. Ok, so maybe not, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
Impulse buying…..every girl has learned her lesson in this one. You know…. That hot pink pair of boots you loved in the department store but wouldn’t be caught dead in at the grocery store… so they sit in the back of your closed gathering dust.

Sometimes we take a refresher course in that lesson.  In a thrift store (yes, I love all kinds of shopping, mall, thrift, even pawn and rummage … just give me shopping or give me death!) I picked up a mug . (I have a thing for mugs, but that is another story all together- maybe I will share that with you sometime, but you have to promise not to judge my twisted mind…) O.K. back to the mug- it was handmade… olive and taupe…. Rugged yet a bit refined with a perfect texture and feel…. It had to go home with me… I quickly made my purchase and went blissfully on my way.

At home that night, as I unwrapped my treasure, I …

Life in Pursuit

A certain nervous anticipation runs through my fingers as they dance on the keys. My goal of starting a blog in January was pushed aside by the necessities and urgencies of life, but finally, it is time. The feeling is much like the proud accomplishment I felt as a child presenting a "book" to my mom, a "book" I had written, illustrated and bound with yarn. I've grown beyond the crayon drawings and yarn bindings, and the desire to write has grown as well. I pray this blog will encourage and inspire you to live differently.

"Make My Life Song Sing to You." Each time I hear those words in the song by Casting Crowns, my heart leaps. I know that is the purpose of my life. The purpose of life for all Believers. The hard part comes when we must live in a society filled with messages shouting the opposite. The pull is to make our lives sing to ourselves. "Have it your way"... "Me-time"..."Do something for yourself"..…