Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's a special day...


This past year I had the privilege of becoming a mother-in-law! Larry has truly become a member of  our family. About a month ago I figured out just how much he is like a son to me when I received a text with the following picture:


 This is a picture of Larry preaching at his home church. When I got this text I was instantly so proud of him and found myself tearing up! He's one of my kids and I'm so proud of him!! 

Today is Larry's birthday...so like I do with each of my kids...today's blog is meant to honor him and celebrate with him. Larry is a unique guy, last year for his birthday he received this from us:

You gotta love a guy who likes to sew! So we gave him my sewing machine.

Larry is a great husband to my daughter, he makes her smile, he comforts her when she's down, he leads her, he loves her, he is perfect for her!! He is a brother to both Abby and Caleb. He is protective of Abby and helps make sure her car is cared for at school. He and Caleb are just like brothers, they love to do nerdy things together, Legos, Minecraft, and Madden. He just fits into our family so nicely!

Happy birthday Larry....I hope you know that you are loved!!!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday....Stay the Course

Woohoo, Five Minute Friday time again!!! I almost didn't get it done today because my body was telling me to stay in bed!! But, I didn't listen. The rules are simple for this challenge, one word, five minutes...no editing. Today's word is STAY.

Go:

You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. 
Psalm 119:1 (The Message)

Life can get tough sometimes, we may feel like giving up.
Stay the course.
Sometimes it may seem like God is silent.
Stay the course.
We may think our way is better.
Stay the course.
We may try to find an easier way than the path filled with pain.
Stay the course.
We may have others who tell us we should go a different way.
Stay the course.
Satan may be whispering lies to us, that we are going the wrong way.
Stay the course.
We will be find peace and joy if we...
Stay the course. 
God's blessings will flow if we...
Stay the course.
Seek God, read his word and He will show you how to...
Stay the course.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Won't you pray for them???

Today is the National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  

Please pray!



Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow
 prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you 
yourselves were suffering.
Hebrews 13:3 





Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Let's not keep quiet...

 Five Minute Friday again!! Once a week I join a party of women who write for five minutes on one word...no editing!!! Today's word is QUIET.

Go:

Churches in America really have it easy. We come to church in nice cars, wearing nice clothes, each carrying our own Bible. We enjoy laughter and fellowship before and after church, we sing loudly to the Lord, some of us even use drums. Our pastors preach using a microphone so all can hear. Quiet is what we try to keep our kids while the pastor is talking. Many of us do not associate quiet with church.

However, there are churches all around the world who need to be quiet. They need to keep their numbers low...as low as 24 or fewer people. They arrive separately and try not to draw attention to themselves. They do not carry their own Bibles, they instead consider themselves living Bibles; as they have to memorize the Bible in order to have daily access to it. If they were sing out loudly as we do, they could draw the attention of those who oppose their church. They can be arrested for having church. So quiet is something they know.

The Christians in these closed countries do not openly flaunt their religion, yet they do not keep totally quiet. They are risking their lives to spread the gospel. Yet, sometimes we who can be vocal about our faith, with no fear of death, keep too quiet.

So as you attend your church this week, keep in mind those who are having a more quiet worship experience. Remember what they are risking. Let us not keep quiet about our faith, or quiet about the persecution that is happening to our brothers and sisters around the world!




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A recent covert op....

I love being a part of a story that ends with my daughter's face looking like this:


For a few weeks Abby had been telling me about this guy from college named Josh. Let me tell you, when she talked to me about him her eyes sparkled...you know the look! Well, during one of our times of talking about him, I was keeping a bit of a secret from Abby. You see, two days later Brian and I had plans to meet Josh! This was our covert op...we drove 2 1/2 hours to where they go to school and met Josh at a coffee shop...Abby had no clue. Very difficult to be that close to your daughter and NOT go see her. We had a great time of getting to know Josh. He seemed a bit nervous;  I have to admit, that is was kind of fun to see him get a bit nervous!!! Well, at the conclusion of this meeting, Brian gave Josh our blessing to pursue a relationship with Abby. Now the really hard part...not telling Abby before Josh could!! Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long!

The next day I get a text from Abby and it said, "I think I have a date tonight. Josh wants to take me out to eat...at a place nicer than Qdoba!" I, of course, had to act surprised. We texted back and forth for a while and I knew she was freaking out because she would never enter a relationship without her daddy's blessing. So, she was thinking how long she would have to wait until we could meet Josh.


For Abby the night began in a pretty special way. She got a knock on her door from one of her best friends and she made Abby come out of her room...
This is her expression when she opened the door for Katie.

Why is smiling so big???
Oh...yeah...Josh got her flowers to start the night!
So, she was pretty sure this dinner was going to be something a bit special, and she was right. Here's proof that God is behind this whole thing. They spent the first hour talking about human trafficking. I know that doesn't sound romantic exactly, but it shows they both share the same passions! 

Basically after that Josh pulled out a list of things he appreciates about Abby. Pretty sure she was melting at this point. Then comes the question...Abigail Nicole Haynes, will you allow me to pursue your heart? (yeah, I got goose bumps and tears in my eyes at this point in the story). Just as she was ready to tell him, you need to talk to my dad; Josh informed her that he had in fact spoken to both of us and did indeed have her dad's blessing! That blew Abby away; that we were so sneaky and she didn't even know. So she of course said yes. Josh was not done surprising her yet. He then pulled out a list of guidelines for them to follow as they begin this relationship. She showed me the list...it's good! He then presented her with this frame...


 It now hangs on her wall in her dorm room. The right side where it says the first time she said yes, is from the day he took her out for hot chocolate and told her he was interested in getting to know her better. He has also told her that as iron sharpens iron, her faith sharpens him! He included their guidelines and as you can see another Bible verse.

The smile and sparkle are still in Abby's eyes...and we pray they will remain for a long time!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

God showed up!!

Don't you just love it when God shows up and exceeds your expectations! I know I do. You would also think by now I should know that God is in the business of blowing my socks off with what He can do.

This past weekend I went to a prayer retreat. God started working on my heart before I even got there...so I knew something big was coming! And the way God worked, was not the way I expected. He knew what I needed more than I did!!

This empty nest this has been rocking my world lately. I think for awhile after we moved Brian and I were operating on adrenaline. Well, as you know eventually adrenaline runs out! I spent the first few months just pouring myself into making our house an inviting home. In all our past moves I have had the house to where I wanted it in a matter of weeks...never months. But each of those other moves, I had kids who needed for the house to feel familiar and like home. This time, the kids weren't here, so I took my time. To be honest I think I did that so that I would have something to distract me from the fact that this fall our homeschool no longer had students. I decided to keep busy and deal with that "later".

Well, "later" came and with it came the tears and sadness again. All these emotions arrived just in time for the prayer retreat! My newest saying is that I wonder what I want to be when my kids grow up. So, I figured this weekend God would give me that answer! He didn't! But He gave me something even better...peace!

This prayer retreat was so amazing. We were given lots of time to study and pray on our own. We were given some direction, but we were also told it was our prayer retreat to do with what we needed done. And God knew what I needed!

There is so much God and I talked about this weekend, but Saturday afternoon is where He really worked. We were given the assignment to get outside and find something in nature to bring back and share how God used it to speak to us. There are these amazing benches at Trout Lake Camps that have Bible verses on them. Who knew a bench with a Bible verse could be so powerful?! Well, they were for me, and I didn't even find them all. I found the ones God knew I needed to find! Numbers 6:24-25...the Lord bless and keep you...Romans 15:13...may the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace...Psalm 105:4...look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always...

The way God used these particular verses was to tell me I need to seek him, I need to trust Him, I need to lean on Him for answers. The word, always, in the last verse got me...I need to make seeking Him more a part of my life. In seeking Him, studying His word, worshiping constantly through my day, then He will show me my purpose and what He wants me to do in this new phase of my life. He also showed me that there are ministry opportunities already before me that I need to embrace. But, also that it is Him that I truly need to embrace.

In the midst of this amazing experience I found my nature object lesson to share with the group.

This leaf is huge!
 It is a big leaf and the change in my life is big. Just as this leaf has a hole, I too have a hole...one that is there because my day to day job of mom has changed. Spring is coming, and the tree that lost this leaf will have fresh green leaves. My life is undergoing a season of fall and winter, but spring is coming. The new leaves on that tree will not have holes in them...they will be whole. God will fill the hole in my life...but only God can fill that hole. I have to let Him. I can't just jump into a ton of activities thinking they will be the answer...because they won't.

The bench I next found had this verse...Psalm 149:3...Let them praise His name with dancing! As God works on my heart to prepare me for the next season of my life, my heart is dancing and praising Him. I am waiting with great anticipation to see how He grows me in this season!! Growth occurs in the valley...so I am primed for growth!!!

Our time of singing praise to the Lord were powerful as well...this is the cross I focused on during those times of amazing praise and worship.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Five MInute Friday...Rooted in Faith

 Five Minute Friday time again!! Today's word is ROOTS.

 
Go:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8


 
Three months ago, I discovered that I had deep roots in a community. When we moved I knew they were deep because is was painful to pull them up. Brian and I were at the same time also transitioning to becoming empty nesters and I realized just how rooted in being a mom I was. So in a sense that was another uprooting in my life. Uprooting can turn your world upside down!!
 
Now, we are in a new community and are I feel like a baby tree, my roots are forming, but they are not as deep...yet. It can be a painful process to lay down new roots. Especially when I remember the comfort of how deep my roots can go. It can be easy to get frustrated that I am not where I was before the move. I have to remind myself growth takes time.

Then, I read a verse like Jeremiah 17:7-8, I may be forming roots in a new community, but I have to remind myself I am rooted in something much deeper....the Lord. I am rooted in faith. As long as I remain in Him, I should have no fear of the storms in my life. Does that mean it won't hurt? No. It means that as I establish myself in this community, I have the Lord. He planted me here, so I need to trust in Him!!!