Monday, February 29, 2016

Project Life: February 2016

A fun little hobby for me ... capturing memories with digital scrapbooking. You can read more about my switch to digital scrapbooking by clicking here.

I've scrapbooked more pages than usual for the month of February, as we were blessed to fly to a conference in Florida the first week of the month. We also spent a few extra days there, as we just cannot leave Florida without spending some time together on the coast!

I picked three of the twelve pages I have done this month to share here - one page from our Florida trip, one from Valentine's Day weekend, and one from a special Family Meal this past Saturday ...







Thanking God for memories of His gifts to us this month ...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nurturing 101

A special gift: 2016 calendar from my daughters with photos of our sweet grandkids!

The amazing, incredible gift of Family ...

It is easy sometimes to take for granted one of the most priceless gifts there is ... the Gift of Family. And sometimes it also easy to neglect the care of family, as there are so many things that call for our attention.

But we must not forget, and we must not neglect 
to nurture and care for our families. 

I recently pulled a book off my shelf that my sweet hubby gave me 34 years ago on Mother's Day ... What Is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer. I learned from her words thirty-four years ago, and I am learning again as I browse through her book.

Edith Schaeffer likens a family to a mobile. I like to also think of it in terms of a mobile wind chime - a collection of delicately, hand-crafted parts, each part needed to balance the other, and all held together by almost invisible threads. Edith describes it like this:

"A mobile is a moving, 
changing collection of objects
constantly in motion,
yet within the framework of a form."

With each passing year, this description comes even more alive to me ...

When my six children were small, when they were first placed in my arms, I was in absolute, inexplainable awe of the gift of each one. Each one unique, each one a precious gift from God. And each one entered into the holy framework of a family

This family has changed throughout the years, as we all pass through seasons, and we all grow and develop. And also as we go through trials together, and work together through difficult circumstances. The good times, as well as the hard times are what can bind a family together.

But families that are closely bound together are a gift - not anything we can brag of, and claim as our own creation. Families are a gift from God. 

They are like a garden, for as we carefully plant the seeds, and tend the soil, we completely depend on our Creator to bring the growth.

As mothers, we are blessed beyond measure to be a part of tending the garden, to work alongside our Creator, depending on Him alone.

"There is no possible way of having good relationships, nor of having a whole grouping of good relationships in the framework of a family, if there is no one who understands that it takes time, patience, hard times, unselfish work, sacrifice of a variety of sorts, and planning on the part of someone to insure memories of beauty sprinkled all through the difficulties." (Edith Schaeffer)

Mothers - young mothers and older mothers - let us be encouraged that our nurturing and care of our families is of prime importance. We are blessed to work alongside our Creator to love and care for the priceless gift of FAMILY.

A wind chime produces the most beautiful sounds of music. And have you noticed that as the breeze, and even the wind, picks up, that the sounds are even more beautiful than before? 

This month holds memories of when some winds blew on our family mobile ... 
  • memories of a terrible accident that almost took my husband's life fourteen years ago this month, and of how our family was there for us, even some from across the miles, holding us as we walked through those difficult days, weeks, and months
  • memories of a daughter's diagnosis of leukemia twenty years ago this month, memories of pain and sorrow mixed in with the blessings of a family holding on to hope together, and also memories of healing, even beautiful healing of some broken relationships
  • and more recent memories of this past weekend when my husband and I had the responsibility of moving an older sibling, and our own daughters who live nearby stepped in so generously to help us as we helped another family member - they were such a huge help with the move; we could not have done it without them

The winds bring tears, but the winds also are part of producing beautiful music as a family is held together by threads of love. 

As mothers we should never underestimate the importance and value of the giving of ourselves to the nurture and care of our families, and we should never take for granted what a gift it is to live within family. A priceless gift from God; a reflection of His Love. 

---------------

Click to read more on this topic:
Nurturing 101 (January 2016)
FOREVER CLOSE: The Heart of a Mother

Linking up with:
Jennifer at Tell His Story

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yum-a-setta


It's my desire to write a food-related post once each week, though I don't always get it done! But it's always fun when I do have time to share one ...

This week I'm sharing a recipe that I should have shared long ago, as it is one that I have been making for years - Yum-a-Setta! It is an easy, and comforting dish. I can't remember for sure where I first found the recipe, but am thinking that it may have even been from a newspaper article.

This dish freezes well, too, and now that there are just two of us at home, I still make the full pan, and then divide up what is left into meal-sized portions, putting them in the freezer. Yum-a-setta is on the menu here in our home for supper tonight - a prepared meal from the freezer! My daughters and I have included it on some of our Freezer Meal Days, too. 


Print Recipe

Yum-a-setta


Course: Main Dish/Beef
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 12 lbs ground beef
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • brown sugar little
  • 14 onion chopped
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup 
  • 1 16-oz pkg egg noodles (about 6 cups dry)
  • 1 8 oz. pkg processed cheese

Directions

  1. Brown hamburger with salt, pepper, brown sugar, and onion.
  2. Add tomato soup to beef mixture.
  3. Cook egg noodles; drain.
  4. Add cream of chicken soup to egg noodles.
  5. Layer hamburger mixture and noodle mixture in casserole dish with processed cheese between layers.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

To Love His Word



It seems that I continually need to be reminded. Of what is most important ...
There are so many things that call for our attention. Not just frivolous things, but also good things. 

But one of the most important things; in fact, the most important is to ...

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, all your soul,
and all your mind.
(Matthew 22:37)

And how do we learn to love someone? For sure, it is by drawing near to them, listening to them, seeking to understand their heart. Giving of our time and energy to enter into their world, giving of ourselves to seek to know them in a deep way.

This is how we learn to love others in our families, in our world, and this is how we learn to love God. 

It is all a gift of His grace, as He opens our eyes to Truth, to Him ... and as His Spirit draws our hearts to desire to know Him. 

For He tells us ...

Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you.
(James 4:8)

But just how can we draw near to this God that we long to know deeper? How is it even possible to love Him deeply when there are so many other things that draw our attention, pulling our thoughts and affections in a million different directions?

I have found that what we focus on, what we listen to, who we listen to ... is key. 

What fills our minds is what holds our attention. And what holds our attention determines how we live our days, our moments. 

There is a lot of noise in our world. With our constant communication, the notifications, and the instant access to so much information, our minds can be filled up continually, all through the day. It takes a determined effort to pause, and to listen to Him. First, and above all the other voices that call for our attention.

"One of the surest ways to get into the presence of God is to get into the Word of God. If we get into God's Word, God's Word will get into us. It will radically change the way we think, the way we live, the way we love. But it requires more than a casual reading. In fact, the Bible wasn't meant to be read. It was meant to be memorized and meditated on. It was meant to be prayed and practiced. We have to abide in the Word of God and let the Word of God abide in us." (Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle) 

There is nothing more important; there is no one who can satisfy us in the deepest places of our being more than Him.

I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to Me
will never be hungry again.
Whoever believes in Me 
will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35)

To love Him is to listen to Him; to listen to Him is to love His Word. And to listen and to love, is to obey His Words. 

If you love Me,
obey My commandments.
(John 14:15)


Thank You, Lord, for reminders to draw near to You, to listen to You, to seek to know You in deeper ways. To love You with our whole heart. And to love You is to obey You, to follow You. Not just to go through the motions of reading Your Words to check off the box each day, but to fully listen with our complete attention, and to fully love and obey with our whole heart.


There are so many resources to help us spend quality, consistent time learning from God in His Word, and two of my favorites right now are:


First5 - an app from Proverbs 31 Ministries. This daily reading through a book of the Bible, together with reading thoughts pertaining to each chapter by a very gifted group of women, is so valuable, and so helpful to consistently be reading through His Word. Right now, we're nearing the end of Exodus, and will soon be starting Leviticus and Hebrews, reading them both together as they each give deeper insight into the other. 

She Reads Truth - a very valuable resource (reading from an app or the website) that I use at times, and one of those times is during this season leading up to Easter. Each day, there is a collection of verses to read, calling our hearts to draw near to Him, to refocus on the things of most importance. To draw us to repentance and humility before Him, and to grasp again why Jesus came. 

-----------------------------

Click to read more posts on this topic:
FIRST LOVE: What We Are Made For

Linking up with:
Bonnie at One Word Coffee

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Two Become One


Two Become One ... the great, marvelous mystery. 

How can it be that two become one, that a husband and wife, two distinct individuals, can become one?

My sweet husband and I celebrate our half-year anniversary on Valentine's Day each year ... our wedding anniversary on August 14th, and our half-year wedding anniversary on February 14th. This year on February 14, we will celebrate 44 1/2 years of marriage!

On our wedding day, we became one by the legal ruling of our state and the higher authority of God as we were united in marriage. We were declared as one at the altar, and consummated our oneness in our marriage bed. 

And each year, we find ourselves living together as one, and becoming more and more as one. This is a mystery. 

"This explains why a man leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one."
(Genesis 2:24 NLT)

Just what does it mean to become one?

Though it is a mystery, we are given deeper understanding of this oneness through a picture of another mystery. Many times in Scripture the union of a husband and wife is compared to the union of Christ with His bride, the church.

Is there anything more beautiful? The picture of Christ giving Himself for His Bride, of the Bride willingly offering herself to Him is so beautiful. The picture of growing more and more into oneness with Him as we live in His love, and as we seek to know Him better - this is perfect oneness!

"Yes, everything is worthless when compared
with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For His sake I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage,
so that I could gain Christ
and become one with Him."
(Philippians 3:8-9a NLT)

This oneness between Christ and His people, the Church, is a beautiful pattern for the oneness He designed for marriage. This is our model for marriage: such a mystery - that our marriages can reflect His Love! The two become one in marriage is a beautiful picture to the world of the oneness that we experience with God. 

"As the Scriptures say, 
'A man leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife, 
and the two are united into one.
This is a great mystery,
but it is an illustration of the way
Christ and the church are one.'"
(Ephesians 5:31-32 NLT)


God's design is for us to grow more and more in love with Him, and also more and more in love in our marriages. It is a beautiful thing to be loved by God, and it is a beautiful thing to be loved by our husband. As we live together in love, in respect, in honoring each other, in sharing our struggles and victories, in seeking the best for the other, in spending quality time listening to and learning from each other, in enjoying each other ... we will grow in our oneness and in our reflection of His love for us.

May our marriages be a reflection of the Love of our Creator ...



Thank you, honey,
for being a reflection to me
of God's endless, faithful love.
You love me so well,
and I am so very blessed 
to be one with you
for 44 1/2 years on
 VALENTINE'S DAY!
I love you ...


For more posts on marriage:

Linking up with:
Jennifer, at Tell His Story

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sweets for Valentine's Day

VALENTINE'S DAY is coming up very soon! And if you are still looking for a special recipe to use, here are a few that have worked great for me! 



Click on the caption link below each photo for the recipe ...

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Valentine Krispie Hearts

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sparkling Cranberry Kiss

Linking up with:
I'm Lovin' It

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Faith: Word of the Year

Photo taken the first week of this month as we spent a few days on the beautiful Atlantic coast.

FAITH ... we hold this word as rather commonplace at times, treating it lightly, maybe even thinking that we have this faith thing figured out. We know that one must have faith to come to Christ for forgiveness, for salvation. And this is huge, the pinnacle of faith. To trust in One whom we have not seen.

And in the same way, we are called to live out our lives, and our days, with faith. Do we really realize what this means? Are we really living our days, our moments, with faith? Faith in our all-powerful, faithful GOD? 

This daily kind of faith is what I am asking God to grow me in this year; faith is my word of the year for 2016. I'll be visiting this word again and again this year, as I learn and grow, and as I hear great thoughts that give me deeper understanding.

A few of my recent thoughts on faith...

Faith = Trust

Is this what daily, moment-by-moment living in faith looks like ... living with a heart of TRUST? I love this thought, for it gives me something to hold onto. Faith can seem a bit out of reach, but I can grab onto trust.

May my first thought be to trust, instead of to worry.

May my first thoughts be His Words, instead of my own reasoning.

May life be simple: simply trusting and obeying ...

"By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become increasingly simple." (Oswald Chambers)
Maybe you are like me, and you need to be reminded and refreshed, over and over, to live with faith, with trust.

At the base of all the emotions and decisions that we are faced with, our very first thought (by the help of His Spirit within us), should grow to be to: 


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
(Proverbs 3:5)


Lord, teach us to trust, and to obey - in the big things, and also in the daily moment-by-moment things. To take You at Your Word, to trust, to pray, to obey. 

Spirit, grow our faith, and lead us where our trust is without borders ...


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

[6x]
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you're my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

(Hillsong UNITED)

Credit


---------------------------------------------------------------------------    

Linking up with Bonnie's OneWordCoffee linkup:











































OneWordCoffee Linkup
                                        

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A New Month



At the start of a new month, 
and at the start of every new day ... 
what is our focus to be?

As we give of our best this month
to accomplish our goals 
and seek to bring our desires to reality ... 

May we remember ...
to place our hope and our trust
firmly focused on the One 
who alone does mighty miracles.

Living each day
fully depending on Him alone,
trusting in Him alone.


Thanking God for all the miracles He has done in the past, and thankful for reminders that in this new month, He is the One who will continue to do the things that only He can do. For His FAITHFUL LOVE goes on and on, forever.