Sunday, May 28, 2017

Far over and above...


What a week it's been!  Our newest grandchild was born, grandchild number six!  As I look back on the years of infertility and miscarriage that our two oldest daughters went through, and the years that our youngest daughter wondered if she would ever meet the man she was to marry, I can say that God truly has done far over and above all that we dared to ask or think.  Our oldest daughter and her husband have two miracle daughters after almost eleven years of fertility problems and three miscarriages.  Our second born daughter and her husband have three miracle children, two via adoption and one God surprise biological child.  Our youngest daughter married a wonderful man two years ago.  Two days after their second anniversary, their son, our sixth grandchild and third grandson, was born.

When you read the paragraph above, there is no way for you to know what it was like to live though the years and years of praying and interceding for each of our children as they struggled through the pain of hope deferred and the grief of loss. There were many times when we wondered if we would ever see the answer to our and their heart cries.  There were many times when we asked God why He would allow our daughter to have the hope of a pregnancy only to suffer the horrible loss of miscarriage time and again. We also couldn't understand God's ways when our youngest daughter would have her heart broken and her hopes deferred.  For years we couldn't glimpse or grasp the way God would answer our/their prayers, hopes and dreams.  And then, He did. Superabundantly. Far over and above.

Don't give up. Don't quit. Keep praying. Keep asking. You just never know how or when God will answer.  Superabundantly.  Far over and above.  The wait was worth it for us, and I believe it will be for you, too.

still following,

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Step Out and Explore

By:

Emily Miller

Summer is here you guys. Even if you all are done with classes you may be stuck in the same place in a relatively unexciting job, with no plans of any summertime adventures written on your calendar.



Even if you may have another "boring" summer ahead, I would encourage you to step out and explore the hidden wonders of your town or city that you may or may not have previously known about. There also may be activities you have previously wanted to try that you have not had time to invest in until now. We are only young, with limited responsibilities on our shoulders for one time in our lives. Let this be the summer of exploration where you discover new things about yourself and the world around you!

Here are a few suggestions I have of how you can personally step out and make the most out of this summer!

1. Join a book club, or pull all the books you want to read of your shelf and designate a new shelf for these books or make a pile in the corner of your room. Head off on new adventures without ever having to leave your house as you watch the pile grow smaller and smaller.

2. If you are a writer, write that book that has been in the back of your mind for ages now! Grab your favorite notebook, pen, and iced beverage and go outside while you let your imagination carry you away as you put pen to paper.

3. Try a new sport or activity that you have been wanting to learn for ages! Or if you are not the most athletic person, go see a local sports team play in your area!

4. If there are historical places in or near the area which you live, make a point to visit these sites. You never know when a piece of your own history may come up when you visit these places.

5. Finally and most importantly, remember to keep investing in your relationship with our Creator. This summer, especially if you find yourself to be without any major plans, can be the perfect time to spend some extra time meditating on what God has to offer us. Maybe even invest in journaling supplies to start bible journaling. It is really a remarkable way of worship when you spend time creating pictures based on scriptures that stick out to you, right in the Bible itself!

So what are you waiting for? Adventure is just around the corner!

Blessings,

Emily

Friday, May 26, 2017

Enjoying Each Day


The passage of time is constant. It goes no faster or slower as each year goes by. Oddly though, we seem to feel as if the passage of time goes faster each year. Many times we find ourselves grasping for the heels of our babies as they walk across the graduation stage, take their first job, or toddle down the hallway. Each day that goes by, we feel the urge to try to freeze frame each moment before it passes. We mourn the loss of the past season, but sometimes can’t wait for the next one than the one we are presently in.

This sense of tension between loss and anticipation colors the days of our lives. Wanting to slow down and accelerate time both at the same time is the juxtaposition where we find ourselves as the days morph into months and even years. Each of us longs to drag out the time our children are at sweet stages, but speed up the process of the difficult days. 

We enjoy our babies when they are easy to manage, but we also long for the days when we can sleep through the night again. 

We love when the toddlers can start to do little things for themselves throughout the day, but can’t wait to get through the attitudes like “I do it myself” that inevitably come along with that new found independence.

Adolescence is no different – we send the babes off to school, or we begin their education in our homes with brand new pencils, notebooks and worksheets with great expectations only to end the year wondering how many more days do we have to endure? 

If we manage to survive the tension in all those days, we fast forward into high school, college, and marriage and family before our first blink. 

The impending empty nest seems to accelerate its pace the minute high school begins. 

So how do we hold on and live intentionally to make the days count? 

First we need to ask ourselves, “How do we want to end?”  In goal setting working backwards is helpful to be able to prioritize how we will handle our days when we have the end goal as our objective. 

Second we do just what the Bible tells us –
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.


As we begin to enjoy the next season with our families this summer, I hope you’ll be encouraged to enjoy the days with your family, treasuring each moment and not wishing away the days or season in which you are currently in. I pray you'll have some sweet moments and memories this week with your family!



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Face to Face

by Debi Baker


"19 ...You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."
James 1:19 NLT


I think this verse is one that nearly the entire world needs to commit to memory!  I know I do!  It's so important for us to to actually listen when someone is talking to us.  In this world of electronics and gadgets, I watch so many people sitting together appearing to have a conversation but there is no eye contact; there is no line of connection between them; they have their faces in their phone!  

I have to ask, are they really listening to each other?  Now, I am as guilty as they come.  I love to play on my iPad.  I take it nearly everywhere I go.  I play my games while my hubby is driving down the road.  I play my games at dinner (not when we're home but when we're eating out).  It's really pathetic.  I think I'm pretty good at carrying on a conversation in the car while playing my game but my hubby would disagree.  My part of those conversations go more like a nod and a 'yep' than a true conversation!  

I try to put the game down.  I really do, but I get bored easily and if the one I'm with isn't talking, I'll pull out my phone or iPad.  I use the excuse that being on the iPad helps keep my brain active.  Ha!  Here could be some truth to that but I think it may really just be an excuse.  We, I, need to put down the electronics and pay attention when having a conversation.  When we don't run off at the mouth and give the other person a chance to speak, we are less likely to misunderstand something said in the conversation and thus get angry.  

I miss the days of actual face to face interaction.  I miss seeing kids outside playing.  I miss seeing families out together actually focused on one another.  I'm not saying electronics and gadgets are bad!  I'm simply saying that we need to remember we were created to be a social being.  God created Eve because He saw that Adam was lonely without other human contact.  We NEED people!

I challenge you...and myself...to start limiting your time with electronics and
gadgets!  Then use the time normally sent with those things to engage with another HUMAN!  Take time to listen to them.  Pay attention to their facial expressions, the tone of their voice, etc.  Take time to speak but speak things of value.  And don't be so quick to jump on the angry wagon!  I'm going to be serious about this and try to limit my game time in the car so that I can engage in conversation with my hubby!  I'm going to stop taking my iPad into the restaurants we visit.  Yes, I'll still have my phone, but I'm going to do my best to keep it in my purse!  Will you?  Will you make the attempt to go back to actual face to face conversations rather than attempting to have one while looking at social media?  Let's do this together and see where it takes us!

Have a wonderful day,
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

20 Ways Your Family Can Serve the Community this Summer

By: Shari A. Miller

It is almost summertime.

Your kids will be home from school this summer, and your summer schedule will soon fill up fast. Before you make you vacation plans, that may carry you to different parts of the country, take a moment to consider one important word.....serve.




One of Jesus's commandments is to serve the community, as whatever we do for the least of those around us, we do for Him as the verse below illustrates.


"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!"
-Matthew 25:40

To keep you and your kids occupied for the summer, here are 20 ways you can serve the community, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around you.

1. Mow an elderly neighbor's lawn.
2. Take cookies to the firemen/policemen in your community.
3. Offer to babysit for a tired young mother.
4. Volunteer for your church's VBS.
5. Host a game night for your youth group or college group.
6. Take sandwiches and water to the homeless.
7. Volunteer to walk dogs for an adoption center.
8. If you are artistic, offer to lead a a class on drawing or painting, at your local library, or retirement home.
9. Host a FREE car wash.
10. Turn on your front yard sprinklers, water and soap down a tarp, and have a water day for the kids around your neighborhood.
11. Have a lemonade stand.
12. Offer to clean for a busy mother or elderly neighbor.
13. Take a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park with your family. Offer everyone you meet a smile and tell them that Jesus loves them.
14. Take dinner to a struggling family or an elderly person.
15. Ask people in your life how you could pray for them specifically and encourage your family members to do the same. Then have a family prayer night where you put all of these prayer requests into a jar and pray for each person in turn.
16. Purchase tickets to a concert or movie, or a gift card to a restaurant, to give to a young couple in your church.
17. Volunteer to tutor a younger person in a school subject you are strong in.
18. Get together with your church community to offer childcare and a date night to the young parents in your church.
19. If your child is involved in a summer camp where they learn a new skill, encourage them to teach that skill to one of their friends who did not attend the camp.
20. Volunteer to coach or to bring snacks to the youth sports team in your area






It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories in their comments.

Use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday

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1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you want!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.

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