Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Can you even imagine what that moment must have been like for Mary? Here she was, this young peasant woman, being approached by an angel. She must have been wondering what on earth was about to happen in her life that the Lord felt she needed an angel to walk her through it. The angel, sensing that, was quick to quiet those fears and reassure her that she had found favor with God.
And then he went on to tell her that although she was a virgin, was going to give birth to the Son of God. The SON OF GOD! Seriously, can you imagine???
The fact that God chose Mary tells us what a remarkable person she was. We can see by her response why God chose her. Even though she was stunned, and probably a little self-conscious to have such a conversation with an angel, when she asked the question, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?", it wasn't the message from God she was questioning. She was just wondering how on earth this was going to happen, since she was a virgin?
I am always impressed and challenged by Mary's response to this news. "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. She didn't try to convince the angel why this would be a bad idea. Rumors would be circulating once the news became public. Her reputation was going to be ruined. She would be ridiculed. She could even be stoned for getting pregnant while engaged to someone else. And yet, her response was one of total willingness to do whatever God called her to do.
She would tell about the visit from the angel, but who in their right mind would believe such a story? Her parents? Joseph? Her in-laws? The Rabbi? It wouldn't matter to Mary if no one believed her. That would not stop her from believing. She was willing to take whatever came her way as a result of believing God. Even if it cost her everything, including the man she loved, she would be obedient. What a courageous faith she had.
I wish I could say that I have always responded just like Mary did. But, the truth is, there have been times have tried to reason with God before I obeyed Him. But as I've gotten older, I realize that everything God does in my life is good. And I've learned that obeying Him immediately and completely is always the best choice to make. I pray to have a heart like Mary's. A heart that never questions God's plans for my life, a heart that immediately and completely obeys His every call.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Ah, December. What a wonderful time of year.
I’m one of those people that likes to celebrate Thanksgiving. And then move on to Christmas. I know a lot of people who put up their tree before Thanksgiving. But, just so you know, I am not one of them. You will never see my Christmas decorations up until the smell of that fabulous turkey no longer lingers in my home. Not that either is right or wrong, it’s just my tradition.
Once that turkey smell is gone, however, I kick into high gear for the next week. For me, the week following Thanksgiving is always busy with getting the church decorated, which is a great way to work off all of those yummy garlic mashed potatoes from the week before. Between all the moving of heavy buckets containing tree parts, moving huge wreaths out of storage and hoisting them to the top of a 12 foot ladder to hang them above doorways, not to mention all the walking involved, etc. etc., I feel that I have succeeded in working off the extra Thanksgiving calories I consumed.
Once all of that is done, I then move to decorating my home. Yesterday the tree went up and today I will hang garlands and put out all the other miscellaneous decor I have collected over 29 plus years of marriage.
But before I get back to the busyness, I pause. I just need to sit and spend a few moments with Jesus, reflecting on the amazing story of how and why he came to earth. Each December I am drawn to reread the gospels as they tell the story of the life of Jesus and the humbling story of His birth.
If you’ve read the gospels you know that Matthew’s account starts with the genealogy of Christ. I used to just skim over this part quickly without really absorbing the importance of it all. Now I realize that it is there as evidence for us to know that God uses imperfect people to produce even the most amazing of miracles. A few stood out to me this morning as I read.
First there was Abraham, who we know as a man of faith. But he also lied. He sent his wife into Pharoah’s arms, putting the promise of his future into jeopardy.
And then we have David, whom scripture tells us, was a man after God’s own heart. But he definitely got sidetracked when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Not only that, he committed murder so he could take her as his own.
Rahab was a harlot.
Ruth was a foreigner who was grafted into the family tree, even though foreign marriages were forbidden by Jewish law.
Bathsheba, the adultress who married David, was Solomon’s mother.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that God used so many imperfect people to bring forth His perfect plan ~ the birth of His own Son. But, this shows us that God’s purposes are not stopped by our humanity, no matter how weak and imperfect we are; no matter how far we have strayed. He is continually at work in us and through us, and a good deal of the time he works in spite of us. It is evidence of His Grace.
Thank you, God, for the grace you have poured down through the generations, reaching me. Your grace is so amazing that it leads me to turn from my own sinful, selfish ways and look to you and our will for my life. Help me go through this Christmas season with my heart focused on the true meaning of it all, Jesus.
My prayer is that each one of you would find the grace of God evident in your life as we spend this month celebrating the birth of His Son, Jesus.
Matthew 1:16 ~ Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. (NLT)
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I am so proud that I just can’t keep it to myself...
Karen Wells, who is a dear friend as well as one of the contributors to this blog, recently had her book, The Miracle of You, published and has already sold out the first printing!! Congratulations, Karen.
If you are expecting a baby, this is the book to have. It also makes a lovely gift for newly expecting parents. It is a beautifully illustrated book that takes you on a journey from conception through the weeks of pregnancy. For each week of pregnancy, The Miracle of You gives the reader an inspirational promise. It is laced with scriptures that have been prayerfully selected to minister specifically to those expecting.
Words really can’t do justice to how beautiful this book is, so I suggest you get your hands on a copy to see for yourself. It is truly one of the most beautiful pregnancy books I have seen.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
- A bunch of celery
- A whole yellow onion (I like the sweet ones)
- A head of garlic
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- Several stems of thyme
- Several stems of sage leaves
- 2 cubes of butter
- Salt and Pepper (I use kosher salt)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As I was sitting here with my grandson this morning, listening to his endless chatter, I became completely overwhelmed with gratefulness once again. I was reminded of what a blessed woman I am to have these amazing children be a part of my day to day life.
Just some of the things I am thankful that I am able to experience with them around:
- lots of snuggles
- endless chatter
- amazing company
- loud squeals of laughter when they are chasing each other around the yard (or through the house)
- wrestling matches
- fun teaching moments (6 year old Devin - referring to sandwiches: "Two halves + one whole = 'a double whole'.")
- lots of snuggles
- lots and lots of artwork (Even the artwork on the coffee table done with a black sharpie pen reminds me of how blessed I am to have them around.)
- the new things I learn every day (This week I learned that hand sanitizer will take a silver sharpie mural off of the lamp ;), but it won’t take black sharpie off of the coffee table.)
- did I mention all the snuggles and love I am blessed with????
So anyway, as I was sitting there basking in the blessedness (is that even a word?) of my life and feeling so incredibly thankful for so many things, I realized it is only ONE WEEK until Thanksgiving!!!! Seriously, where has this year gone?!?
As we celebrate this season of giving thanks, what are you finding yourself thankful for?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
With flu season in full swing, I have found myself feeling a bit like the ‘germ police’. It seems like every other sentence out of my mouth the past couple of weeks has had something to do with washing hands or sanitizing. At moments I even catch myself about to frisk the kids to check for germs. Just kidding. I’m not quite that bad.
But, seriously, in spite of my best efforts of keeping sickness at bay, I am staying home from church today with my son, who has been ill all weekend with the flu. So, I figured I might as well make good use of my time and put up a blog post while I'm watching football.
While I don’t have any control over what my son's exposed to or how well he remembers to wash his hands when he goes to his Adult Transition Program during the day, I can still work to keep my home as germ free as possible.
In addition to the frequent hand washing and other recommended ways to prevent the spread of illnesses, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:
CLEANING TOYS IN THE DISHWASHER
My dishwasher is my friend!! Did you know that you can use the dishwasher to sanitize many household things, besides dishes? When I am in sanitizing mode, I go through the house and start gathering toys and other random items for the dishwasher. Here is a list of just a few of the items I’ve used the dishwasher for:
- kids plastic toys, including bath toys
- pet toys
- toothbrush holders and soap dishes
- scrub brushes, kitchen sponges, vegetable brushes, baby bottle brushes
- cup holders from car
- makeup brushes
- brushes & combs
It’s a good idea to use the top shelf for toys, brushes, or anything else that you aren’t sure of it’s durability. If you have toys with small parts you can get a dishwasher basket that will fit in the top rack.
I’ve even heard some people use the dishwasher to sanitize their trash cans and lids, though, personally I’ve never tried that.
CLEANING TOYS IN THE SINK
If you don’t have a dishwasher, or you prefer bleach as a method of sanitizing, you can use the following method.
- wash in warm, soapy water
- rinse in clean water
- fill sink with one part bleach to 10 parts water and submerge items for 10 to 20 minutes.
- rinse thoroughly
- air dry
CLEANING/SANITIZING WITH BLEACH SPRAY
For an inexpensive and effective way to kill bacteria and viruses around the house mix 1 ounce of bleach with 20 ounces of water. This can be safely used around the house on all non-porous surfaces like counters, door handles, sinks, baby changing stations, plastic toys of any type, etc. etc.
I’ve read that you don’t have to worry about toxic residue because bleach breaks down very easily into its component parts within 24 hours. Just spritz the diluted bleach mixture on all the surfaces at night before bedtime and you will have a lot less on your mind the next day about keeping your family healthy.
If ‘Lysol’ is you cleaning agent of choice, be aware that it kills bacteria, NOT viruses. That means flu and cold viruses will still be present after using Lysol.
Diluted bleach, on the other hand, does kill the flu and cold viruses as well as bacteria.
CLEANING PLUSH TOYS
Occasionally I run plush toys through the gentle cycle in the washing machine and dryer to make sure they are clean.
If you have any additional tips that you use in your home, please feel free to share by leaving a comment.
Well I guess since I’m stuck at home I will just have to curl up and enjoy a football game or two. That is, after I gather a few random things and run them through the dishwasher. ;)
Monday, October 5, 2009
One of the things I love about Fall is the yummy smell of potpourri permeating my home. What I don’t like is the price of those yummy smelling potpourri concoctions. So years ago I started making my own version, using ingredients already present in my pantry.
All you do is throw a few ingredients into a pan of water and simmer on the stove. Here’s how easy it is:
Fill a small saucepan with about 1 to 1½ cups of water. Then add the following ingredients:
1 cinnamon stick (or about a tsp. of ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat on stove until it just begins to boil, then lower heat to a low simmer. Add water as needed.
For variation, sometimes I’ll throw in a few whole cloves or some ground allspice. If I’m in a fruity mood, I’ll even place a whole tangerine or lemon in, or cut an apple in half and put it in.
Really, it’s that simple. And before you know it your whole house smells like you’ve been hard at work, baking yummy treats.
The only problem is, now I'm craving a piece of apple pie. :)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I just can't help but be thankful this morning. Thankful for a God who looks beyond all outward appearances and talents and goes straight to the heart of His people.
Last weekend Pastor Frank continued his series entitled 'Psalms ~ Desiring God'. In order to better understand the author, David, he took us to the book of Samuel; all the way back to when David was still a boy, working in his father's field. The Lord had sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons to be the future King of Israel. After Samuel assumed it would be Eliab, the obvious choice, comes this verse:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a persons thoughts & intentions.” 1Samuel 16:7 New Living Translation
I don't know about you, but that is very encouraging to me.
God sees things inside of not only me, but each one of us that we can't even think or imagine. Take David for example. Of all the sons that Jesse had, David was the one least likely to be a candidate to be anointed as the future King of Israel. He was so unlikely a choice that Jesse didn't even call him out of the field when Samuel had him call his sons in. After all, he was the youngest. And it's not like he was already out leading people, showing his leadership skills at an early age. He worked out in the field, watching over sheep. And yet God saw in him a heart that would follow hard after God. He didn't see one who would be perfect or who wouldn't make mistakes. But, God saw something that no one else saw. He saw a future King.
The truth is, it's the outward appearance and abilities one has that impress people. But it's the thoughts and intentions within the heart that impress God. People have the ability to look ahead and see where someone's abilities may take them. But it's what is deep in a person's heart that can take one to places that only God can fathom.
I think this is a great lesson for all of us Moms. To not only be open to God using us in ways we can't imagine, but also being aware of this thought as we raise up our children. It's a great lesson as to how we should be as parents, not just noticing what is obvious in our children, but also seeing into their hearts and recognizing things within them that they don't see for themselves.
Let's let today be a day of believing God for things that seem unimaginable!!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Gravy:1 lb. Breakfast SausageFlourMilkSaltPepper
Biscuits:2 cups flour1 tbsp baking powder3/4 tsp salt3/4 tsp baking soda5 tbsp vegetable shorting1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk if I'm in a pinch)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
As moms, we often wonder what goes through little children’s minds in different situations. Other times, we are fortunate enough to have them speak what’s on their minds. The other day was one of those times. I have to share this one with you because...well, just because it made my day...and it’s really cute.
The other day my 4 year old grandson had spent the afternoon with his little friend after preschool. The friend’s mom dropped him off at my house and had the following conversation afterward.
Friend: “It’s not fair that ‘T’ has two Mommies.”
Friend’s Mommy: “What do you mean?”
Friend: “It’s not fair that ‘T’ has two Mommies and I only have one Mommy.”
Friend’s Mommy: “‘E’, he only has one Mommy. Susan’s not his Mommy, she’s his Grandma.”
Friend: “She is NOT his Grandma.”
Friend’s Mommy: “‘E’, what makes you think she’s ‘T’s Mommy instead of his Grandma?
Friend: “She’s not his Grandma, ''cause she’s NOT OLD.”
Well there you have it. I’m not old, even in the eyes of a 5 year old child. Yep, MADE. MY. DAY. :)