The Lord is Good

Our daughter in law is so beautiful it's hard to notice our new grandson.



Our baby's smile is so big, you almost miss noticing his baby boy!

January 31
Life takes such twists. There was such joy January 28th when this little fellow arrived 2 weeks early.
Then at 2AM the next morning he was taken to the NICU. He is getting awesome care and improving, but it's been a heavy load for these new parents to carry.

When the baby arrived the plan was to post newborn pictures and look at 1 Peter 2:1-3:
"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted the Lord is good."

As I've prayed for this baby and his parents my heart has ached knowing in their exhaustion and newness to parenthood and this medical issue they must feel so inadequate. Praise God they've known to cry out to Him.
My eyes drifted to my computer screen and this prayer, which I had implanted there at some point. 
May it strengthen you or someone you love in some area where you/they are feeling inadequate.

"Lord, sometimes my weaknesses cause me to feel inadequate and afraid to move out of my comfort zone. I praise you that you make us sufficient in your sufficiency. Lord, we can gladly accept our infirmities because it's in those times where your power is displayed through us. Father, I don't want my children to allow their perceived weaknesses to limit them.  I pray that _____ would be able to allow your grace to work through his/her weakness.  Help _____to experience the wonder of your power working in his/her life despite his/her feelings of inadequacy.  Thank you that we don't have to worry about our limitations because we know we can depend on your strength to be shown perfectly through us. I pray that _____ would be able to set his/her mind free from worry and rest in the assurance that your grace is sufficient for anything!"

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Can't Google True Wisdom

Love these sweet girls.

January 30
Just Google it.  Have you been around people who have their cell phones permanently implanted in the palm of their hand? If they aren't showing you their latest photo or updating you on a sports score, they are showing you a "fact" they just read online.  Have you heard this?  Listen to this!  "They say...." Who are they?

James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

For true wisdom, God is our greatest resource!


Dead Lifts and Tutus


I have a feeling this is going to be my favorite photo of 2017.
This is our granddaughter, whose father is a strength coach.
She is at his gym, imitating how to do dead lifts, yet she is wearing her tutu!

January 28-29
Imitation can come quite easily, or at least attempts at it.  We have the ultimate example of how we were intended to live in the life of Jesus.

"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, 
just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifices to God."
Ephesians 5:1

Well, that photo may have some competition. Love has been poured out in the form of our ninth grand baby who was born last night!

No pics or name yet.  I'll post later when the news is updated!

Caged Cousin

These two cousins had fun putting each other in the dog cage!
January 27
When we can't control life, put our problems in a cage, or have the outcomes we desire life gets frustrating.  Sometimes we are the ones caged in and we can't think beyond ourselves.  Self absorption robs our joy.

There is a solid solution found in Galatians 5:16.

"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

The Message translation takes it a little deeper.

"My counsel is this" Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness.  For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.  These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominate existence?"

60

Been friends with this gal for thirty-one years!
So thankful we could steal away to my favorite spot for the last three days in my 50's!
One of the bellman surprised us with chocolates and stuffed bears upon as part of the celebration.
The bellman's name is "Sincere." I've never seen him at The Homestead before.
I told my girlfriend, I really think he was an angel.

January 26
Sixty is a big number. I'll take it though, as I think back on the reality of how differently the stroke situation could have played out. 
Thanks to all of you for the love and encouragement you've shown me over the years.  Hard to believe some of you have been following the daily devotionals for 17 years.

God's birthday gift to me was found in Jesus Always on today's date.

"Remember that you are My beloved. I am on your side, and I want what is best for you."

God's best for us is found when we are walking HIS way.  For sixty years, I think I've put my agenda before His. How I long to be more like Jesus.


Pour Out Your Hearts


Son/Father
January 25
Our children have a very accessible father.  Not in physical proximity, as they've all moved far away, but his heart is always open and his ear ready to listen.

Is your heart hurting?  Does it feel like your situation will never improve?  Are you trying to wade through life in survival or "I can fix this" mode?  Do you not know who you can trust?

Take time off and getaway with God.

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; 
pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."
Psalm 62:8 

The solution may not be a quick fix, but the One who can fix all things, will make a way.

Tutus

Bless her bones! Being with all these boys didn't seem to phase her.
Some days we just need to put on our tutus and deal with what life has dished out.

January 24
We have absolutely no control over what life is going to dish out.  We can hide away and hope we won't encounter heartache, but a tree could fall on where we are hiding! The good news is God knows what we are going through and wants to walk alongside us.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts."
Psalm 139:23

"The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love."
Psalm 147:11

Papa

Papa pouring into the lives of these grands.
January 23
A Facebook friend, regularly refers to God as Papa!  She knows of His intimate love.

Maybe your relationship with your earthly father lacked in some areas.  Do not despair.  Dig deeply into God's Word and invest in and rejoice over the ultimate father/child relationship.

"One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving."  Psalm 62:11-12

"And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!  Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if as son, then an heir through God."  Galatians 4:6-7

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!'"  Romans 8:15 

Memories


Our children all grown up. Missing our Utah son.  :-(

January 21-22
One of the best parts of getting together with our children is hearing them tell tales of years gone by.  
The years have flown so quickly. Memories are worth the making, for they fill life with meaning.

The Bible is God's book full of meaningful memories meant to chart us through life.  Real life stories we can relate to, which encompass every category of daily living.  We have such an advantage over Adam and Eve.  We have a guide book packed with memories passed down from people who sought God with all their hearts.

Last night, on Fox News, one of the ministers who shared a prayer at the inauguration shared his excitement on being able to pray "whatever the Spirit led him to pray". Just hearing that on the news thrilled my heart.  One of the ministers prayed boldly that President Trump would seek God.

May each of us find time in our daily lives to say, as David did, Your face I will seek, O Lord.  
Psalm 27:8

Laughter is Good for the Soul

This little family loves to laugh.
Can't help but smile!
January 20
There was so much laughter in our home last weekend.  Laughter is such an upper!

May something make you laugh today!

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.'"  Psalm 126:2




Perturbed


This is when you know they are tired of you taking photos!
Actually, he's just a real ham.  He couldn't wait to see this one!

January 19

In a recent She Reads Truth post an author told a story of realizing her toddler had taken permanent maker and colored a couple pages of her Bible.  The first reaction was to reprimand and teach right from wrong, until God impressed upon her heart that the child was mirroring what she watched her mother do each day...mark in her Bible.

We are so quick to react to situations.  Often there is much more than we are aware of behind a situation.  In the book of John, this example is taught to us time and time again through Jesus' actions: The Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery, and stories of healing taking place.  

Jesus made the Pharisees uncomfortable.  He didn't play by their rules.  They wanted to oust Him from their territory. Okay, from the earth.  They didn't know who He was.  The Son of God right there in their midst, yet being rule keepers, they missed the most precious relationship they could ever have had.

Where is our focus?  Are rules and the way we think things should be done keeping us from seeing what good  God is up to?  Instead of being perturbed by situations, let's pray through them asking the Holy Spirit to teach us to see things as Jesus does.


So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”
1 Peter 1:13 MSG

Forecast








January 18
I think all my snowman decorations have scared the snow away. The forecast the next tens days is a springlike one!
Do you wish you could open an app that showed you a life forecast week by week?  Life is full of unknowns. While we know we must breath, eat and use the bathroom; the when, where, what and how are not for certain. What is for certain is God's presence and love.

Jesus Always had an amazing analogy today related to the unknown.  Sarah Young wrote, "Consider the trapeze artist: She must leave the safety of the swing she is on in order to move toward her goal.  As she abandons the security of where she was, she will be briefly in flight-until she connects with the next trapeze."

Sometimes when we are in waiting mode we feel like we've been left hanging in the air!

Another great analogy of life out of our control is a baby's birth. Our daughter in law's forecast is for our next grandchild to arrive February 11th, but that date is not a given.  She's at the mercy of her body and God's timing for that baby to come into the world.  After that, life's forecast will be very different for this sweet couple as it will involve another life, at times out of their control.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of the light."
Ephesians 5:8

Remember...God knows where we are going!

No Junk Mail

Every snowman is unique!


January 17
Asking my husband if he picked up the mail, which is located 1/2 mile away at the top of our driveway, he replied, "Nothing but junk mail. Tossed it all out."

When God looks over his creation he doesn't see any junk mail.  Even those created beings, whom seem to have no value to us personally, were created with a specific purpose by God.  We  may be missing his mark, but the purpose does exist.  

Years ago, I would take our children to pet stores. Not a good place for me, because I want to take every dog home.  The uniqueness of those animals makes them each a good pet for totally different situations.  Just because one won't make a great hunting dog, doesn't mean it has no value.

Oh, that we could look at others through the eyes of Christ who was there when they were created and knows the plans God has for them.  Sunday when you sit in your pew or folding chair in our case,  take a moment to look at all the individuals around you and rejoice in how God made them.  If you are a sports fan, allow your eyes to survey the crowd. While you may be likeminded in the team you are cheering for, even the opposition is loved by God and has value.  If you are a student or teacher, glance around the classroom and ask God to give you the words to encourage others, for if they fulfill their purpose it could impact your life.  And finally, with a new president and cabinet in place, trust God allowed them to be positioned there for such a time as this and pray for unity in our country and for God to turn anyone we see as junk, into mighty leader desiring to bring God glory and our nation to its originally designed purpose of being one nation under God.

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created.  For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels-everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment."  Colossians 1:15-18

And that's the truth!



Pampering or Perfecting Love


"Parade your power, O God."
Psalm 68:28



January 16
A winter storm and frigid temperatures whipped up a week ago and had us huddled down at Shiloh for two days. God was parading his power and there was nothing to stop what God was sending.  Plans had to change.  Sunday, we did venture out to church.  It might not have been the wisest idea, as the streets were terrible, but I told our pastor his sermon was worth sliding into a ditch for.  It was an interesting look at the story of Lazarus and the difference between pampering love and purifying/perfecting love.

He stated, "Whatever God permits into our lives, He has a purpose for it."

Points were made from these key passages:
"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."  John 11:5
"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will exalted in the earth!"
  Psalm 46:10

Pampering love is like grandparent love!
Pastor Stan said, "Purifying/perfecting love's purpose is for us to become like Christ."
In the story of Lazarus in the tomb, had Jesus rushed right to the seen and answered Martha and Mary's request, he would have exhibited a pampering love.  Because He loved them so much he had greater purpose.  Making them wait, built up their faith and also that of those surrounding them.  It left an awesome story for generations to come too!

Often we worry and grow weary in a wait. Sometimes we think God must not love us to make us wait, but we must remember, He is always up to good.

"The Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him."  Isaiah 30:18

"The  point of this story was for God to be glorified and their faith to be strengthened." Stan Parris

That's where our problem comes in.  We think the point of our lives is to be happy, healthy and have a blast here on earth.  Those goals can bring disappointment.  When our focus is on a much longer range goal...like eternity, then the point of our lives is being more closely connected to Christ and desiring to live a life like his with the purpose of bringing glory to God and others to a realization of what He is up to... loving us in an amazing fashion!

May we see his purposes play out in our lives in this week ahead!  To God be the Glory!

Snow Much Fun




January 14-15

Usually, by the first of January we've packed up all of Christmas and pulled out three enormous boxes of snowmen!  Recently, I thanked my husband for putting up with my whimsical decorating.  Thanking God for the beautiful snow we had, but also that it has melted away for this weekend with our family.

Whatever the weather, Jesus remains steadfast in his love for us!
Whatever the weather He and God are on the throne and in control!

So let's get our praise on this weekend.  I've started dancing to this song each morning.
It's better than any vitamin I've ever taken or a kick of caffeine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPy0ctqMwE0

Psalm 146
"Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose  help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Strutting Her Stuff


January 13
Henrietta shocked me when I saw her out in 28 degree weather, strutting her stuff in the cove before the snow started. There are not many people who would be dipping their toes into the lake these days.

Henrietta is one way God makes his presence known to me.  The way she stands on those skinny ole legs and then spreads those enormous wings are reminders of God's amazing ways. I know He does similar things for you.

He made his presence known on Monday in a couple other ways.  One of the details I was stressing over was a photographer for Saturday. The gentleman who usually helps us is having cataract surgery and has his plateful helping others.  The other friend who has done this just had baby #3 and moved further away.  I'm usually the photographer, but the plan is for me to enjoy this day with the kids and not be in "go mo."  So, I prayed for God to figure out that detail and the need for a baby sitter.

Moving on in my morning to Bible Study, I was cleaning out my notebook and came across the name and number of a gal I met at study the first of December.  I couldn't make out her last name, so I tried to Google it, knowing the town she lives in.  Are you ready for this.....she's a photographer and willing to come take pics. Blew me away.  Another friend from BSF, who is a very capable grandmother is going to baby sit for nine kids ages eight and under, while we have dinner upstairs.

Then last night my husband walks in the door with FOOD!  A grandparent at his school knew we were having this family gathering and she sent BBQ, slaw, potato salad, macaronis salad, and banana pudding!  Lunch tomorrow is covered!

Tuesday morning, after the blood pressure day, I opened my inbox and there was a friend request from a Fred Angela.  I went onto Facebook, but there were no friend requests there.
I put in Fred's name, but no one popped up.  Fred has to be the name of one of my Shiloh angels!
What a great reminder from God that there are angels all around.  Fred, my even be my escort to heaven. So glad for his reminder that he is my friend.

It gets better.  In the busyness of my mind yesterday, I never got to my Sarah Young, Jesus Always devotional reading.  Buckle up, for what I read blew me away.  God is so real, so present, just waiting to help us.

"I am your treasure! Sometimes you feel frazzled-pulled this way and that by people and circumstances around you.  Your yearning for meaning and deep connection drives you into more and more activity.  Even when you body is still, your mind tends to race-anticipating future problems and searching for solutions.   You need to remember that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Me...When you prize Me above all else, making Me your First Love, you are protected from feeling fragmented."

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  he guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Psalm 23:2-3

Then I opened that day's entry, January 10.
"Beware of overthinking things-obsessing about unimportant matters. When your mind is idle, you tend to go into planning mode: attempting to figure things out and make various decisions before you really need to do so.  This is an unproductive way of trying to grasp control, and it's a waste of your precious time...There is a time for planning, but it's definitely not all the time-or even most of it.  Seek to live in the present moment, where My Presence awaits you continually. Refresh yourself in My nearness."

Well there you have it.  God's still working on me to make me what he wants me to be.
Don't forget to tell others about Him! He's the REAL DEAL!

Wild Hair Day



January 12
Have you ever read something that made you want to cheer?  That's what this Titus passage did for me.
"God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone!  We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of , energetic in goodness." Titus 2:11-14

The Bible Study Fellowship lecture last week started off with the teaching leader saying, "Spiritual blindspots need to be brought into the light."  Do we pray for that to happen in our lives?  A girlfriend told me she was praying for God to do that, but to please only reveal one spot at a time!

Monday, God did this to me. After posting boojoyful, the next 4 hours were spent on the phone and computer working on details for the family weekend celebration coming up.  My mind was becoming overwhelmed.  Mentally, I was having a "wild hair" day.

At last week's doctor's appointment my blood pressure was up, it's usually a perfect 120/80 or below, but the nurse said that was typical for a doctor's visit.  Monday, I decided to take mine and it was off the charts for me. The alarm on the machine was buzzing and it scared me, because I know how high blood pressure plays into strokes.

God showed me a blind spot.  I was in Martha mode, scurrying about.  I love to provide great food, fun fellowship and memory making moments for our children and grandchildren, but for this coming weekend God was showing me what is best...to just sit with our children and look back on memories that have already been made.

I'll suck up my pride and tell you more. Knowing I'm perfectly fine "to go" when God calls, my husband said, "Well, at least if you die, everyone will be here."  My mind started up again.  "You're right!  If this is my last day, I need to figure out what I want to get done...UGH the planning process shot into gear again."  He gasped, "Oh, no!  Don't start planning your funeral!"

"Slow mo" is where I need to go for a few days.  More to come...

Capture Your Thoughts

Taking 5 children eight years of age and under to the movies was nuts. We did get there 30 minutes early to get good seats together.
Three bags of popcorn tumbled to the floor and my sweet husband made five bathrooms runs during the movie.
Someone asked me if the movie was good...
I don't remember!






January 11
"Whenever you are struggling with difficulties, 
you need to guard your thoughts and spoken words carefully."  
Sarah Young

A group email came to my inbox. Reading through the contents I thought I'd purposely been left out of something fun.  My heart was wounded.  In moments my mind had conjured up why this person would do this to me.
Fortunately, I went to my husband with my hurt  (I know, should have first gone to God) and prayed for a "This is not of eternal value" attitude.  I said, "God this is just a test, so take every thought captive."   Going back to the email and rereading it,  I realized I had totally misinterpreted the contents. There was no celebration, it was simply a reminder of something happening on that particular date. I could have easily replied to this email sharing my hurt or snubbed this person.  Whew. The enemy is always at work.  We need to remember from whence our joy comes.

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10 

Floored

This photo was taken from my bed.
Four on the Floor
I knew there was a reason we built such a large bedroom!
January 10
Ah, the things you do as a grandmother that you never allowed as a mother.  Years ago, when our oldest grandson was visiting alone, I allowed him to sleep on a lounge chair cushion beside my bed. Now that's the only place they want to sleep. So week before last we had four on the floor!  That number may grow this coming weekend! One night for dinner I made spaghetti, macaroni and cheese,  a hot dog, and soup to keep everyone happy. A wise mother would never do that!  To top it off, I allowed them to sit at a little table on my living room RUG and watch a movie while they ate those things!

Maybe God should be referred to as Grandfather and not father. Grandfathers have more wisdom than fathers and generally grandparents are more forgiving.  I supposed the disciplinary element of God  the Father is crucial. As a grandmother I do discipline, I'm just a lot less reactive.  Two wonderful ceramic vases and a favorite hat box belonging to my grandmother were smashed accidentally during cousin camp and my response was "accidents happen."  That would have been a whole lot different as a mother.

Sarah Young writes in Jesus Always: "Ponder all I have done for you and all that I am to you."
What an excellent assignment.  Journal some of these thoughts about Jesus. If your parents or grandparents are still around, you may want to write them and thank them for the mirror images of Christ they have reflected in your life! Parenting is truly sacrificial love.

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that."
Ephesians 5:1-2





Face to Face


Snowman face toilet paper!

January 9
Our children are coming in this weekend and I can't wait to see them face to face. FaceTime is more exciting than a call, a call more personal than a text, but seeing them, kissing and hugging them face to face, sitting around the dinner table together is such a blessing. After my mama died, I recognized my Daddy's miss of touch and having her there with him face to face. How does the song lyric go...
I've grown accustom to her face!

Last night I read these two verses and thought...of all the things we hope for, seeing Jesus face to face should be the greatest.  Just think how He longs for us to see him.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I have been fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:12

"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him,
you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."
1 Peter 1:8
Today let's pray for those who are missing "a face" they've loved to be able to find comfort seeking the face of Jesus.  The best is yet to come!

Snowflakes

A very talented friend made this snowflake from clay.  It's not only a reminder of her love and friendship when I see it, but also of how uniquely God has created each one of us. 
Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike!
January 7-8
Some people dread it. I adore it. What is it?  Snow! And it has been pouring down all night.
In the middle of the night I turned on the lights and watched and wrote:

Thousands of flakes falling silently from the sky.
Crashing to the ground forming a magical covering without a sound.
Amazing.

Sitting in the darkness of my bedroom, the floodlights shine brightly outside.
Now I can watch another one of God's miracles.

Lord, make it snow enough for cars to stop and stores to close, so we may sit still and worship You.

The indescribable covering reminds me of how God's grace covers all my sins.
Like warm clothing fresh out of a hot dryer, snow falling from the sky comforts me.

What a reminder we serve a God who can do all things.


Wishing you all were here to drink hot chocolate and watch with me!

"Have you ever traveled to where snow is made, seen the vault where hail is stockpiled, the arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness for times of trouble and battle and war?  Can you find your way to where lightning is launched, or to the place from which the wind blows? Who do you suppose carves canyons for the downpours of rain, and charts the route of thunderstorms that bring water to unvisited fields, deserts no one ever lays eyes on, drenching the useless wastelands so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?  And who do you think is the father of rain and dew, the mother of ice and frost?  You don't for a minute imagine these marvels of weather just happen, do you?"
Job 38:22-30






A New Thing


How's your New Year going? Hanging out with these little fellows is my happy place.
January 6
God is the God of new beginnings. Can I get an "Amen"?  His mercies are new every morning!
He created the seasons and the calendar year, exhibiting fresh starts.  

Yesterday, I saw my hematologist and asked the same ole question.  Can I come off Plavix?  "Why do you keep asking me that?" he said.  The explanation was simply that I don't like taking medication.  His reply, "I don't like strokes!"  He's a funny fellow. He admitted he too was an anti-meds guy, but he said, "If I'd had a stroke I'd be sniffing that Plavix bottle while waiting until I could take the next one."  Checking my body brought on another upbeat articulation, "Look at all the bruising!" he cheerfully exclaimed, "Plavix is working great!"

Less frequent doctor's appointments (I'm free for 6 months from this specialist) will be a blessing.  The best "new thing" for me will be an attitude of gratitude for medications that can help people live a more productive life.  While I'd love to know the cause of the stroke, it's better to know the One who has numbered my days and holds me in the palm of His hand and has purpose for my life however long it is.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  
 See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
       Isaiah 43:18-19 

Upside Down World



January 5
Cousin camp afforded the opportunity to talk about sin as the instigator of our unpleasant behaviors.
It really is helpful to stop and reflect on why we do some of things we do.  Paul describes this in Romans chapter 7:14-20.

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my single nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." 

Treasure Hunts


This clue was found on Papa's Potty!

January 4
Treasure hunts have been a favorite activity in the Andrews home for the past 30 some years.  They have come in various forms!  This past week we had an indoor one and the funniest clue location was on Papa's potty seat!
We have no clue what God is up to, for His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways not our ways, but we can seek Him for the answers.  In Sarah Young's devotional book Jesus Always, she writes in the voice of Jesus: "I untangle your thoughts and help you view things more biblically."

"My Word is a lamp to guide your feet and a light to your path."   Psalm 119:105

Looking for things/people/scripture that we treasure comes naturally.  The instinct is purposely designed by God, who knows that the yearning will lead us to our greatest treasure, Jesus!

"Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. Its obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."  Luke 12:33-34


Woodworking 101

We made nail labyrinths where marbles could trickle down making a tinkling sound!

January 3
While Cousin Camp days were filled with jumping, joy, laughter, games, cooking and crafts; hands down bedtime was my favorite part of each day.  Not because I was tuckered out and wanted a break, but because all five of these children love to be prayed over!  Their parents have done an amazing job of pouring God's truth and scripture into these little lives.  They are experiencing first hand the power of prayers.  The number one bedtime request is for "good dreams!"

I'm convinced from all my years working with children that we come into this world with an awareness of the presence of God, Jesus, and angels that is slowly stripped from us as worldliness pours in.  The little boy in the middle of this photo LOVES for me to whisper to him, "Jesus loves you, Mama Boo loves you, angels watching over you!"  Being only two years out of his heavenly creation, I think God's touch is still close to his heart.

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb.
 I thank you, High God-you're breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
 I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, 
 you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit.
 how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
 all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
 the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day."
Psalm 139:13-16 

Living Wisely and Well

Five of our grands piled on our bed. Grandchildren truly are an amazing gift.
January 2
Cousin Camp is over.  The children have been returned to their parents with no major injuries!
There is a clear path, sans toys, on the main floor.  No pallets, blankies, or stuffed animals lay on our bedroom floor, although we found a pair of airplane undies on my bedside table. There's an eerie silence around here today.  

So, today in the silence I will look out at 2017 and wonder what God has on the agenda. Biblegateway's verse of the day is Psalm 90:12 MSG

"Oh! Teach us to live well!  Teach us to live wisely and well!  
Come back, God-how long do we have to wait?-and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we'll skip and dance all the day long.  Make up for the bad times with some good times; we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you're best at-the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Goal setting is a typical New Year's tradition, but for the most effective results they need to be God's goals for us. We need to be certain that God: "affirms the work that we do!" In our pastor's sermon yesterday, he mentioned the importance of clarifying our values. He said, "You can't do what's important, until you know what's important."

Jesus gave an excellent example of this process in Luke 22:42, while facing his death.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

So, if we are setting spiritual, physical, relational, financial, or career goals for 2017 let's ask the Lord how those measure up with his 2017 goals for us!  Let's ask Him to instruct us to set goals which equate to a life lived wisely and well and one which brings glory to God!