Monday, January 28, 2013

Before Us and Behind Us

The view from our basement window this morning ...

On sunny, clear days - and on foggy, cloudy days ... these words are true:

"O Lord, You have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You  know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me.
You place Your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand."

(Psalm 139:1-6)

Thanking Him for His promises, true every morning ... and for the blessings of this past week: 
a productive staff meeting, God at work at our annual student Lock-In the weekend before, a daughter coming over with her two little ones, phone calls from a son in Seattle before he sailed off to the Bering Sea, texting with another son in SF, a bout with a 24-hour flu and my sweet hubby's care (always), an invitation to share about Cru High at a nearby church, new financial partners, help figuring out MailChimp for our email mailings, time for some PSE 11 video tutorials, His strength in our weaknesses, His promises, that He goes before us and He follows us (from Psalm 139).

"I am with you always ...
The fact that I am with you
makes every moment of your life meaningful."
(Jesus Calling)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Digital Scrapbooking / Mid-January

Keeping up with scrapbooking 2013 is a desire of mine which may or may not be accomplished! And either way is fine, but it is fun while it lasts - and also using ready-made templates from Digital Scrapper makes it more possible. There's still plenty of room for creativity, as I move photo spots around, choose the digital paper I want to use, and add or replace embellishments as I desire.

The middle week of January was filled with a variety of things: time with grandkids, saying good-bye to a son for three months, and helping at an all-night Lock-In (though we did not need to stay all night because of our amazing staff and volunteers!).

(Credits: Top page: Page Template, Paper, and Embellishments: Digital Scrapper - January 2013 Premier Kit (Elise Hansen - Winter Wonderland); Font for header - stamPete. Lower page: Page Template: Digital Scrapper - Scrap-It-Now; Paper, Embellishments: Digital Scrapper Jan. 2013 Premier - Elise Hansen Winter Wonderland.)

Linking up with:
In the Studio

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January Snowmen {Forever Close}

Leaving the sweet & sentimental (and sometimes tearful) thoughts about mothering, and taking time for some January fun. Mothering opens up the doors for many creative activities with our children, and helps us take time for the simple joys of life. And staying in step with the seasons brings so many possibilities of creativity and fun.

I found this little snowman idea recently, and pinned it on my "Winter Fun" board on Pinterest - click here for the blog post I originally found it on.

My kids are all grown, but I like to have some activities on hand for my grandkids when they come over - and this is one that looked fun to try. I changed the original idea a bit, making this cute little snowman completely edible (as one of the comments on the post suggested).

Powdered Donut Snowmen Treats

Ingredients needed: chocolate graham crackers, mini white powdered donuts, pretzel sticks, Pull'n'Peel Twizzlers, mini M&Ms, chocolate wafer cookies (I used HyVee Fudge-filled Dunksters), Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, candy corn, and some white frosting to hold everything together. (Of course, use your imagination with other ingredients.)

Build your little snowman from the bottom up, using white frosting to "glue" the parts in place as needed. Your kids (or grandkids) will have great fun building this little guy, and also tasting extra pieces of the yummy ingredients along the way.

Grandkids Levi (10) and Ali (5) making their own little snowmen!

A Memory from the Past - Snowmen Chore Charts

I'm such a lover of the changing seasons (even changing the photos in my blog header with each season) - so much beauty in all of God's creation. Recently I came across these little paper snowmen in a box of January memories. From when four of our six children were at home - these little snowmen were on a bulletin board in our kitchen to show the different meal chores for our kids. (B = breakfast, L = lunch, and S = supper). We had two different sets of these, alternating every other week during the month of January. Everyone needed to help - and maybe these little snowmen made the chores a bit more fun?! 

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother
Click here for previous posts in this series on mothering.

Linking up with:
Faith Filled Friday
I'm Lovin' It
Saturday Show & Tell
Pretty & Delicious

In Need of Peace {Forever Close}

Today, and each day as mothers, when we face things that have the potential for worry or concern, we are in need of Peace. Today my heart is with a son, as he is leaving on a fish processing vessel from Seattle, headed for the Bering Sea. Away from email, phones, texting - but never out of reach of a prayer. And my mother heart - never out of reach of Peace.

"Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.

Then you will experience God's Peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His Peace will guard your hearts, and your minds
as you live in Christ Jesus."

(Philippians 4:6-7)

Deeply in need of peace as our son leaves on this demanding, intense job - proud of him for doing a difficult thing to earn money he needs - and as a mother, desiring to pray instead of worry, needing His Peace to guard my heart and my mind.

These two verses from Philippians - for everyone. And, especially for ...  mothers.

(Photo above: taken from our rental cabin on Campobello Island, Canada, on our Trip to New England and New Brunswick the summer of 2012 - a place of rest and peace.)

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother
Click here for more posts in this series on mothering.

Linking up with:
Fellowship Fridays

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken Quesadillas

We enjoyed this recipe recently, and wondered why we had waited so long to have it again. Baking it in the oven produces a very tasty, crisp quesadillas dish - so very good!

Chicken Quesadillas

2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2/3 cup salsa
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
sour cream, optional
guacamole, optional

In a large skillet, combine the first six ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Brush one side of tortillas with butter; place buttered side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture over half of each tortilla; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.

Fold plain side of tortilla over cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Cut into wedges; serve with sour cream and guacamole, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

(Note: I used a higher oven temp setting - about 450 degrees - which created a very crisp quesadillas - which we liked. This was accidental, as I had written down the temp degrees incorrectly - but I may just repeat this next time. If you choose to do this, just watch it closely, so it does not get too browned.)

Click here to print this recipe from the Taste of Home website.

Linking up with:
Tasty Tuesday

Monday, January 21, 2013

Enough for This Day

Each week - God gives what we need. One day at a time.

"When God provided the miraculous manna 
for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, 
it says He provided 'enough for that day.'"
Just enough." 

"We want a one-week or a one-month or one-year supply of God's provision, but God wants us to drop to our knees every day in raw dependence on Him. And God knows that if He provided too much too soon, we'd lose our spiritual hunger. He knows we'd stop trusting in our Provider and start trusting in the provision." (The Circle Maker)

Thanking Him for providing all that we need - 
one day at a time. 

Last week - special joys and gifts, and more opportunities to trust Him - all from Him. And His grace and strength - just enough for each day. One day at a time.

Listening to sweet granddaughter learning to read ...

Saying good-bye to a son, flying off for an intense three-month job at sea ...

Strength and energy to help at a Cru High Lock-In ...

And more: figuring out some things to help my hubby with his new iPad mini, setting up our printers to print wirelessly, a little granddaughter starting to feel well after a bad bout of flu, making fun edible snowmen with two grandkids, phone calls, help with a project, high school students responding to Truth and desiring to follow, a friend sharing prayer needs ...

The list goes on - each week, and each day. Gifts from Him, and more opportunities to trust Him for provision of all that we need. One day at a time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Digital Scrapbooking / Birthday Time

A New Year of digital scrapbooking! I'm signed up for Digital Scrapper's monthly premier kits this year, and the January kit I just downloaded last week is so adorable. The layout templates, papers, and embellishments for these two pages are from that kit. And it helps to have such cute little ones to scrapbook about! It's always fun when there's time for scrapbooking ...

(Credits: Page template, paper, and embellishments: Digital Scrappers - EliseHansen - Winter Wonderland)

Linking up with:
In the Studio

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Holding Hearts {Forever Close}

How does a mother's heart hold onto a miracle? 
The touch of forever that God has blessed her with - 
the very life of a precious child that has been entrusted to her? 

This miracle is part of her, coming from within her. Whether through birth, or through adoption, a child comes from within the deepest part of our heart. And is part of our heart. For we are created to be life-givers, life-nurturers - it is at the core of who we are, how God crafted us - for His purposes, and for our best good.

And this is not accidental, this bonding of hearts with our children. For we all need to be loved, and loved deeply, and forever. A mother's love - all a glimpse into the even-greater-love that our Creator has for our children. A tangible expression of His unending, all-encompassing love that He has for us, for our children, for each of His children. And to give this love, we give away parts of our heart.

To be a mother - "is to decide forever
 to have your heart go walking around outside your body." 
(Elizabeth Stone)

I do not know how to explain this love, this giving away of our hearts. But my heart knows it - it is a scattered heart, parts with each of my six children - and it is a heart in need of being held together by my Creator.

It is as if a gentle surgery has taken place by our Creator, lovingly shaping and carving our hearts to hold love for each of our children, to always be with each of our children. For our children come from deep within us, through the deepest of love expressed between a husband and wife. (And from a very deep place of love and longing in the heart of a woman struggling through infertility - and a child is birthed for her to hold.) Our children come through our pain of longing, and in the suffering in nausea through pregnancy, and in the intensity of the birth process. We give of ourselves to bring life - and also to nurture this life.

My heart has lived a very full, and a very scattered life with six children - now all grown. It has been in hospital rooms, through the grueling days of a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, in school locker rooms when unkind words were heard, across the ocean in the Philippines, Japan, Macao, Taiwan, Greece, (on missions trips with daughters), in NYC and SF with a son, traveling through Europe with another son - and just this week, part of my heart left (again, as it has gone before) with our youngest son on a three-month job/adventure with a fish processing ship off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea.

How do you say good-bye, and watch through tears as part of your heart flies away? This is the way of mothers, for part of our heart is always with our child.

Through all of our days of mothering, we hold on, and we let go. We hold on to the little ones and the grown ones that are part of us, and we let them go to pursue their dreams, with our prayers for them to become all that God created them to be.

We hold them in our hearts -
and we release them to His heart. 

And we are made complete and we are held together by the One who created us to be mothers. The One who gave us the blessed privilege of being "mother" - who designed for our hearts to be with our children. And for us to be held together by His love and care. We are Forever Close to our children, and we are Forever Close to His heart.

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother

Click here to read more of my thoughts behind this series.

Linking up with:
Thought Provoking Thursday
Hearts 4 Home
Faith Filled Friday
Fellowship Friday
Better Mom Mondays
Soli Deo Gloria
Imperfect Prose
Death by Great Wall

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cinnamon Date Oatmeal

A comforting, warm breakfast on a cold, winter day. This is one of my favorites for breakfast - a recipe that we have been enjoying in our home for quite a few years. The dates add a sweetness and richness to the oatmeal, and the chopped nuts are a nutritious addition, too.

Cinnamon Date Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar (or fructose)
1/3 cup nuts, chopped (my favorite is pecans)
1 cup chopped dates
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 1/2 cups water

Mix all ingredients in saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.

To Serve:
Dish out the amount needed for a single serving, add milk, stir, and enjoy!
The additional oatmeal mixture keeps well in the refrigerator.

A Fun Gift Idea

I discovered that this recipe layers well in a quart jar - perfect for sharing with others! I mixed up a number of these jar gifts this past Christmas for our family - such fun to share this memory of breakfasts at home with them ...

Linking up with:
Tasty Tuesday
Trick or Treat Tuesday
I'm Lovin' It

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thankfulness and Trust

"Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors." 
(Jesus Calling)

Taking steps into this New Year, one day at a time, with thankfulness and trust. How can it be the third week of 2013 already? I've been busy with organizing things after the busy holiday season, setting up things for the New Year, and taking part in family and ministry happenings. And being reminded to first of all, put on thankfulness and trust. Each day. For God is the One who is in control of our moments and our days, and all that this New Year will bring.

Thanking Him for His gifts this past week ...

A special meal out on Monday with youngest son (now 22) - a gift to spend this time with him, just mother and son - before he leaves for three months on a fish processing boat job.
Good food at Smashburgers - love their sweet potato fries.
Shopping together for some needs before the trip.

On Tuesday - special time together with sweet little Eva while her mommy had a bday party for four-year-old Cruz and friends at Chick-Fil-A.
Such a sweetheart - love our little grandbaby.

Our first Staff Meeting of the new calendar year on Wednesday - catching up on all that happened taking students to the Denver Christmas Conference for the first time.
Hearing of life change, especially in one student's life - amazing answer to prayer.
Enjoying Papa Murphy's Chicago Style Stuffed Pizza as we met.

Posting my first "mothering" post on Thursday - in a new weekly series: "Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother" - something I've been dreaming of for a few years.

A very fun birthday party on Friday for grandson, Cruz - Happy 4th Birthday, Cruz!
Another amazing bday cake, made by his mom and dad.
Sweet time with family.
Delicious meal of barbecue pork and sides.
Grandson Cruz - such a fun, adventurous, creative little boy.

Thankful for Instagram photos to help share the story of a week!

And trusting Him for all that this new week will bring ...

"Now all glory to God, who is able, 
through His mighty power at work within us 
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine."  
(Eph. 3:20)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Heart of a Mother {Forever Close)

Mother ~ one of the most beautiful words in the world.

How do you capture the emotions, the depth, of what it means to be a mother?

In that moment when we acquire the beautiful name of "mother" - there is something added to our makeup; we are changed forever. It's as if we have entered into a miracle. Not only having been given the privilege to observe a miracle, but we are given the awesome privilege of being part of a miracle.

Whether it was that breathtaking moment when we discovered that we were pregnant - or the joyful, tear-filled moment when we held our newborn in our arms for the first time, or that unbelievable  moment of ultimate joy when our baby was placed in our arms through adoption - we were forever changed. Something in our heart, our mind, in the very core of who we are, changed. And the change is not reversible. We are forever changed - we are a mother, forever.

There are pivotal times in life - monumental times - that mark who we are. Of foremost importance, there is the time when we come face to face with our Creator, and we bend our knees and hearts to His control, His shaping, His Love. And we are forever changed.

Then, as wives, there is the moment when we become one with the one God has given us to share life with, for His purposes. And we no longer live our days watching out for our own interests, but we are joined with another person to become one, watching out for each other's interests. Sharing life, sharing love - an intimacy closer than any other.

And with mothering -
 when we are part of giving life to another, of creating life, 
and given the privilege and responsibility of caring for and shaping life - 
a precious little one who has been entrusted to our care - 
we are tasting of something beyond ourselves,
we are part of a miracle.

We are given a glimpse into eternity, 
for the little life we have been entrusted with is part of a 
that is almost beyond our ability to even grasp.

Mothering - a part in this giving of life, in this shaping of a life - and we will never be the same. We are part of His creating, His nurturing of life, His miracle. A touch and taste of forever.

And because of this touch and taste, 
and this part in the forming of a life -
we are forever close to God, 
and we are forever close to our precious child. 

Please join me on (most) Thursdays, as we celebrate this privileged role of mothering. Some posts will be sweet and sentimental, some will be challenging, some will be practical - and all will be celebrating this most sacred of roles - mothering

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother

Click here to read more of my heart behind this new series.

(Photos: our youngest daughter, and her newborn daughter - our tenth sweet grand baby - photos taken March 2012) 

Linking up with:
Hearts 4 Home
I'm Lovin' It
Faith Filled Friday
Friday Favorite Things
Saturday Show and Tell
Inspire Me Monday

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Habit to be Cultivated {Heart Connect}

Developing a new habit takes time. And persistence. Each new day. We may think that we have mastered a new habit, but unless we keep at it, it will fade away. Such is the case with a habit that is difficult for me - physical exercise. I can be quite diligent for awhile, but unless I have a definite plan and focus to exercise, I just do not get it done. It is a habit that requires much persistence.

Could it be that we also need to consider intercessory prayer as a habit that needs to be cultivated? Intercessory prayer - to faithfully pray for the needs of others. It is easier for me to talk with God about my own concerns and needs. A good thing - this continual, intimate communication we are privileged to have with our Maker. The sharing of our heart, and the listening to His. And to faithfully pray for the needs of those closest to me, in our family, is easy for me, as well. But to faithfully, daily, pray for the needs of others? I can be faithful when a need is pressing and urgent, but to consistently support those we know and love - this requires more diligence on my part.

Intercessory prayer is more like discipline for me, much like my efforts to exercise each week. Focusing my thoughts throughout the day on the needs of others, interceding for them - this requires more of an effort. Especially when our days are filled from morning to night.

But should we pay any less attention to intercessory prayer, than we do to other needed disciplines in our lives?

Prayer "is a habit to be cultivated. 
It is a discipline to be developed. 
It is a skill to be practiced."
(The Circle Maker)

Instead of being discouraged by a lack of prayer on my part, I need to humbly ask God to give me the desire and discipline to pray for others. To make it a part of our lives. Each new day.

The only way to grow in prayer for others
is to pray. For others. 

(Photo above taken in the late afternoon this past November as my husband and I spent a few quiet hours at restful Standing Bear Lake - pausing from our busyness, and listening to His heart. Hearing these gentle reminders as I am re-reading through The Circle Maker.)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer ~
Click here to read the previous posts in this series.

Linking up with:
Work in Progress Wednesdays
Walk with Him Wednesdays
Thought Provoking Thursdays

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year of Thanks

A New Year of giving thanks - for the big things, and also for the little, everyday things. A joy, and also a discipline. Choosing to be thankful for the small blessings, as well as the big - in the midst of a busy life that is often filled with difficult things, as well.

Spending New Year's Eve with my hubby
The warmth of our wood stove on a cold day
Root Beer floats by the fire
"Fiddler on the Roof"
Thankful for my husband

New Year's Day - another relaxing day with the one I love
Time to read, relax, and plan for the New Year
A special menu for supper
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Cranberry Quinoa
Shared by the warmth of the fire in our Family Room
Thankful for a brand new year

A slower week - time for planning and organizing for the New Year
A brand new facebook page for this blog (see sidebar - and "like" if you wish!)
Setting up a blogging schedule, and planner for the year
The perfect first week of the New Year
Thankful for God's direction in planning

Special treats at the end of the first week of January
A meal out with family at Village Inn
Our (grown) children treating their grandpa (my father - 91 years old!)
Joy of seeing how happy this made him
Adorable little Eva (our little grandbaby)
Thankful for family

Worship at our church with friends
Sharing a meal at Runza after church with a dear couple
Two and a half hours of sharing together
Thankful for friends

"How great is the goodness You have stored up 
for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to You for protection ..."
(Psalm 31:19)

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Planner

January is the month for new beginnings - new goals, new habits to focus on, and also new planners to help carry out our dreams and plans. As I love organizing and planning, I am continually adjusting the format of my planner so that it works most efficiently for me.

And I know that I am not alone in my love of and need of a good weekly/daily planner. It is very interesting to me that the most-read post of this blog, throughout the two and half years that I have been blogging here, is one entitled "A New Planner", written in January of 2011. It is also one of the most-read posts on my blog this week! (As seen in the sidebar list of most-read posts this week as I am writing this.) Click here to read that post from two years ago, if you are interested.

I thought it would be fun to post an update on my "A New Planner" post from two years ago. There have been some changes - especially, as I now have an iPhone. With all the amazing little apps that are available, it has affected how I do my planning.

I've tried several different apps over the past eight months since I've had an iPhone, and the one I have settled on using for my planning is NoteMaster. I use Evernote for quite a few things, but I prefer NoteMaster for my weekly planner. There are just a few more options to make it pleasing to the eye - giving me the option of background design which I can change with the seasons, in addition to adding photos.

As is covered in my previous post from two years ago, I write out my weekly plans according to the priorities that God has impressed on me; something I started doing years ago. This is so valuable for me, and helps keep my week in perspective and gives me focus for the things that are most important.

I've tried using my iPhone for all the planning, even the daily, but have found that I still prefer to break down my tasks and priorities to my daily lists on paper. There is something comforting and secure about having my daily plans written down on real paper. So, I continue to use the same daily planner sheets that are described in my post from two years ago. I've changed some of the format a bit to meet my needs better, but it remains much the same.

It works well for me to have my weekly tasks/goals on my iPhone, and then transfer the items onto my daily written pages. These daily pages are printed out from my laptop, and fastened into the back section of my Quiet Time journal. I usually fill in the items for the next day in the evenings ...

This format works well for me right now - and come back in a year, and I may have another plan! If you have any questions about my system - or have some great suggestions to share with others - feel free to share in the comments, or on my facebook page.

Linking up with:
Saturday Show & Tell

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blogging in 2013

It's always good to refresh, and refocus at the beginning of a New Year. I've been taking some time in the past few days to do that - and, actually, it is something that I like to do throughout the year. Maybe daily? As I always need to align myself with God, tuning in to listen to His heart.

Blogging is just one of the many areas where I am asking Him for His direction in. And as a result, I have compiled a list of the main topics that I hope to be blogging about this coming year. (These topics are also listed in my "About Me" page - click here to view - as I recently rewrote the entire page, after leaving it much the same as it has been since I started this blog in the spring of 2010. )

Writing is my way of processing life, and of learning. Always desiring to listen to God, and to follow - through all the stages of life. These are the main topics that I will be writing on in 2013:

Devo Posts
Sharing the thoughts that God impresses on me as I spend time listening and learning from Him is my main focus here. There are many times when I am so captured by His words and His heart that I must stop and write - this is what He is calling me to do.

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Prayer is an area that I long to grow in, and is so much more than we usually think of. It is a way of life, of being in continual connection with God. My posts on prayer will most often be on Wednesdays.

Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother
This is a series that I will be beginning in January of 2013; look for these posts on Thursdays. Mothering is near and dear to my heart, and I am continually learning that all is by His grace and mercy. And we as moms (and also grammas) need God so desperately for this awesome privilege and responsibility.

Favorite Family Recipes
Once each week I try to post a family favorite - such fun to prepare beautiful, delicious food for our families. Look for these recipe posts usually on Tuesdays.

Homemaking Ideas
I am blessed to be a full-time wife/mom/grama at home, and love to organize, and be creative. You'll find posts here and there about menu planning, organization, and other things of the heart and home.

Thankful Posts
Living with a grateful heart, thanking God for all that He blesses us with, and all the trials that He allows in our lives (which draw us closer to His heart) is so important to me. You'll see my posts on gratitude sprinkled throughout the other posts - often on Mondays.

God's Presence in Trials
We have experienced a share of trials, and God continues to teach me more of His heart, and His love through the hard things that we go through. Some of the trials we have experienced: a season of broken relationship with a teen child, going through leukemia with a daughter, a terrible accident that almost took my husband's life, walking through infertility and loss with a daughter, and more.

Digital Scrapbooking
I switched to digital scrapbooking a few years ago, and love it. You will see some of my pages here in various posts.

Blogging Schedule in 2013

That is quite a list of topics to blog about! I love to write, and would post every day of the week if I could, but ... focusing on the priorities God has for me is of high importance to me. Which means that there will be weeks when I will only post a few days, or not at all. I am continually seeking to listen and follow His leading in how much time I should take to write. So, even though I have many things to write about, some weeks I will be more silent here (or will even need to take a break for a week or so) as I follow His leading. Seeking to listen to Him above all, and to follow closely. And desiring to be available to my husband, family, and friends. (I am so grateful for my husband's encouragement and support to write - he is my best friend, and my biggest encourager.)

Here is a general schedule for the year (subject to change) of which post topics you may find on various days of the week. I'll probably be actually posting only two to four days a week, but this schedule gives a general idea of the topics that will be covered on the days that I do post. (You'll find the Devo Posts and the posts about God's Presence in Trials on a variety of days.)

Mondays - Thankful Posts
Tuesdays - Recipe Posts
Wednesdays - Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Thursdays - Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother
Fridays - Homemaking Ideas / Digital Scrapbooking

Thank you for taking the time to visit - I am honored and blessed by you! Looking forward to a year of learning, listening, and following - and being an encouragement to each other on the journey.

Linking up with:
Delightfully Inspiring Thursdays
Works for Me Wednesdays
Faith Filled Fridays
In the Studio
I'm Lovin' It

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Brand New Year

My husband and I started out the New Year quietly, at home, just the two of us. We love having a houseful of family (blessed to have our whole family of 22 home for Thanksgiving, and then again on Christmas we were blessed with 18 around our table!) - and, also, we love time with just the two of us. And at this stage of life, we get to have both.

New Years Eve and New Years Day were two of those times with just the two of us. And on cold winter days, we love to relax (with our laptops, a good book or two, and a movie) in our family room downstairs. We have an old wood stove there which heats the room up toasty warm - and also, helps heat up the rest of the house, too. It cuts down our furnace bill a lot during the winter - and it's just so soothing to feel the warmth of the wood heat on cold winter days.

The perfect place to pause and reflect at the close of a year, and the beginning of a New Year. Purposely taking time to slow down from the busyness of life, to relax, and to - listen and learn from our Maker.

"Pay close attention to what you hear.
The closer you listen,
the more understanding you will be given -
and you will receive more."
(Mark 4:24)

These were some of the words that were impressed on my heart and mind as we entered another year. I have had a special focus on the word "listen" for the past few years - there is so much to learn about listening. So much to learn as we pause our busyness, and really seek to listen to God, learning from Him, hearing His heart. Reading His Words with a heart ready to listen. Taking time to share our hearts with Him, and to listen as His Spirit communicates deeply within. And with our family and friends - how I desire to really listen. I am learning more about what it means to truly listen - and look forward to another year of opportunities.

"Come to Me with a teachable spirit,
eager to be changed.
A close walk with Me
is a life of continual newness."
(Jesus Calling)

Looking forward to a New Year of walking closely, and listening - and wishing the same for you! Happy New Year!

Linking up with:
Thought Provoking Thursdays
Faith Barista Jam