Saturday, December 27, 2014

"The Family Daughter", by Sarah Bryant

I've talked about the "King's Blooming Rose Ministries" before. It's my favorite magazine, and they have many other resources as well... challenges to purposefully set aside time to grow in the Lord, online articles, books and other goodies :). Mama ordered me this book, "The Family Daughter", several months ago, and it was no exception, it was so good :)!

Miss Bryant talks about many of the different areas of being a christian daughter serving our family, from following the Lord, to interacting with your siblings, to honoring your parents, and using your time wisely. She writes in a well thought, easy to read tone, including many real-life situations, and opinions from other girls. Each chapter ends with a list of resources that relate to the topic, which I thought really gave this book a nice touch and made it a great "ground work" book for girls who may have been just recently convicted by the Lord to follow the path of investing in the lives of others to share His love with the world. At the end of each chapter is also a short testimony from other daughters who have embraced the calling the Lord has given them.

I especially loved Sarah's chapter on our relationships with siblings, and her thoughts on being humble. And her generous sprinkling of bible verses and quotes by people such as Elizabeth Prentiss made it even more enjoyable :)!

To read a short excerpt from the book, you can go here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Abbi is most definitely a go-getter, and, for being so bouncy, shows great concentration, dedication, and speed at learning new things. I've been teaching her a bit of crocheting the past few months. She has chain stitch down well, and recently I finally took the time to show her single crochet.

As I expected, she picked up the method of making the stitch right away, and even knew how to tell where the next stitch was quickly, which was the one thing I figured she would have issues with. What I didn't expect, and turned out to happen, was that she is having the hardest time remembering which side of her work is the top. I'm not sure how she can know which stitch is next in line when she's not even sure which way is up, but she can ;).

I was so very pleased with her quick progress as to knowing how/where to make the next stitch, but after she continued to constantly try to make that next stitch upside down, my patience started wearing thin. We kept trying for a short time, but it got to the point that I just told her, "I need a break. We'll work on it later. I can't do this any more!" I left to work on other projects, hoping that a bit of a break would ease my frustration before it caused her to get frustrated.

A while later, I came back, and told her we could work on it a bit more. Once again, she wanted to crochet it upside down, and I realized that I wasn't going to be handling it much more patiently this time, either. I fixed her mistake, and then walked her through another stitch, not giving her the chance to hold it upside down, haha. And then I hear her, as she is bent over concentrating so hard, "Bri, you are so gentle with me."

I immediately felt convicted. I was most assuredly not feeling gentle with her, and she was being very forgiving... or maybe a bit oblivious. This is Abbi, haha ;). I sat there thinking of how patient she was being, and how true it is that "even a child shall lead them"... while she makes two perfect little stitches, on the right side. I congratulated her, very very hard, haha!,  and she said, "You know what? I asked Jesus to help me do it right, and he did! Because I prayed and said please help me". Giving me another little nudge in the right direction as I realized that I hadn't taken the time to pray for patience when working with an eternal soul, but she was even asking for help in something so small as to remember which side of her crocheting was right side up.

She still has trouble remembering how to hold it. But we are both learning something as we work on this together... she'll be making washcloths before I know it, and I have realized that the Lord can use anything to bring sins to our attention... even a word of encouragement from a little one that might make you examine your heart and obedience to the Lord a little closer.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas!

Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child

He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

And, through all His wondrous childhood,
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love,
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heav’n above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in Heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

                                             ~"Once in Royal David's City",
                                                       by  Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der

 Praise the Lord for His loving kindness in coming as a helpless baby to live a life of complete obedience to God so that he could pay the ransom for our sins! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God", John 3:16.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey", by Susan Wojciechowski

"The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey" is one of my favorite Christmas children's books! This touching story coupled with beautiful illustrations shares the story of a wood carver so harsh that nobody will try to befriend him, and all of the children call him Mr. Gloomy. Nobody knows about the sorrow in Mr. Toomey's past, or the sentimental items hidden in his drawers. 

But one Christmas, a widow new to the area, with her seven year old son, ask the "best wood carver in the valley" for a very important favor. They have lost some very important items, and Mr Toomey must find out how -and why- to make happy sheep and an extra important angel, as well as a mother and child that "love each other more than anything else in the world"! As the Christmas season goes on, the wood carver is given gifts and lessons from young Thomas and his Mother, and is reminded of all that is important about Christmas. 

When Christmas Eve rolls around, Mr. Toomey is left with his hardest task, and finds joy in the midst of his sadness. And the next morning, a new nativity sits in the house of the widow and her son, and the village people see Mr. Toomey smile!

There is also a movie based off of this book, and it is also one of our favorites :)!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday, 138 & 139

I missed last week, because I thought that each day was a day earlier than it was. Like, from Tuesday to Friday I lived my life as if it were Monday-Thursday. That is rather pathetic. Haha! But, here are the things I have been especially thankful for the past two weeks :).

~Quilling inspiration.
~Long, flowing skirts :).
~Sitting at a small table creating artwork with and bouncing ideas off Tori :)!
~The word "tantalizing"... haha... 
~The study on Proverbs I finished with my friends last month.
~The sermon series on Matthew 7 our pastor just finished up.
~Playing peek-a-boo with Josiah on the way to church :).
~Banana bread. Mommy made some that was really yummy and healthy a couple weeks ago :)!
~The first day of a month :).
~The book of Philippians and 1 Thessalonians :).
~Toasted coconut cereal :). It was really yummy!
~Our house all decorated for Christmas :). Especially the little "Joy" decoration in the kitchen  (my favorite single piece, I do believe) and Mommy's start and book tree :).
~Rainbows, and that each one reminds us of God's promise in Genesis nine.
~My peppermint candle. I should light it now that it is Christmas time!
~Our St. Nickolas Eve traditions :).
~The smell -and and an early taste- of Tori's yummy cinnamon rolls :). Bethi and Tori and I played a couple games of Uno while enjoying those.
~Homemade caramel sauce. My only disappointment was that Peter didn't really care for it. Where did he come from?! Haha ;).
~Popcorn from Miss Mary. Emmi especially was so very thrilled, and she was so excited to hear that there was caramel corn in it. "What does it taste like? It's going to be so good!", she giggled. I am happy to say it lived up to her expectations :).
~St. Nicholas Day letters (we enjoy the traditions usually given to santa on St. Nickolas day instead and learning about St. Nicholas , and then focus on Jesus on the actual day of Christmas :).). Tori headed it this year, and it, and Daddy's replies back, were certainly entertaining!
~A quiet afternoon with everybody working on one project or another :)...
~Playing the hand bells with Tori and Mommy (to make sure we were prepared to teach the little ones.). And Tori's plea, "Just one more? Come on, it's fun!" Haha!
~Doing hand bells with Mommy and all my siblings... which Tori did not find as fulfilling as the night before, due to our very bad musical talent, but I found hilarious!
~Tori and Josiah going nuts at quiet time. Haha! We were watching Josiah while playing a game, and lets just say... she wasn't very invested in the game, but we sure were laughing, haha!
~Working on Christmas gifts. I am having so much fun :). I can't wait until Christmas :)!!!
~The book "Josie's Gift". This was a sweet story :).
~"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever". I love this book that is a tradition every year at our house :).
~An actually working dishwasher. They are done coming over to fix it, they actually accomplished it for good today, haha!
~Peter's little finger as he points to items he is looking for in a look-and-find book :).
~Memorizing bible verses!

"For it is all for your sake, so that as  
grace extends to more and more people it may 
increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God."
                                         ~2 Corinthians 4:15

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful Thanksgiving!

Sorry this is late... what a day to miss posting my thankful thoughts, huh? The day that is nationally set aside to give thanks, haha! It seems that four weeks of Thankful Thursdays on time is my absolute limit, and holidays are the hardest days for me to blog on... plus, given the fact that this is a mega post, it took longer than expected. But here are some of the most important things I am thankful for...
~Christ's paying for my sins on the cross, though I was undeserving.
~The word of God, so that we may grow in His likeness, and that we are still allowed to proclaim him openly in America.
~The grace the Lord gives us when we fail to live up to His commandments.
~My family... Daddy, who, no matter how busy he is, or how long a day he works, makes time to help us in everything that we need him for. Whether leading bible time, helping with math, or teaching us photography (or how to make our coffee ;)!), I am so thankful to have a Daddy that invests in his children!
~Mommy, and all that she does for us. Putting aside her own preferences to give each of us what we need whenever possible, for her patience, and for always having a listening ear while I yak on and on and on and... haha :).
~Tori. Though we are so very different -possibly more different from each other than from any one of our six other siblings- we are best friends, and I am so thankful for her!
~Bethi. She has been really growing lately. She has become "little mother hen" to Josiah, and it is sweet to see :). It is also fun because it brings back memories of when Andrew and I where Bethi and Josiah's ages :).
~Andrew. This guy loves to build and repair things, and wants to build his own house in the future, which I can definitely see him doing!
~Abbi. Abbi is probably the most like me, just a little more spontaneous, haha :). She is a ball of energy, and so funny! But she has a serious side too, and loves to organize and clean for us often :).
~Emmi, my special little buddy, I love how we've been really close since she was tiny :). It was really sweet, a couple weeks ago she just starts crying because "she doesn't want me to ever marry and leave, who will she sleep with?!". Not sure where that came from, but it made me smile :).
~Peter... his strong hugs, and cozy snuggles. And though he can come off as quiet to people who see him around Abbi and Emmi, he is a chatterbox when you talk to him one-on-one!
~Josiah. Have I mentioned that he is trying to cruise the furniture? He's gotten the pulling up down pat, just working on getting anywhere after that, haha :).
~And my extended family... Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Tessa and Aunt Amber, Gramma and Papa Nate, Aunt Heather and her family (and our first cousins :)!), Aunt Donna and her "tribe", and Granny :). I love you all soooo much :)!!!!
~The many friends that God has lovingly put into my life. Church family, Daddy's employees, some of Daddy's costumers who have become friends, neighbors, pen pals... I can think of sooo many names right now that make me smile, young and old alike :). Although I don't have the room to include every name I can think of, I would especially like to say "thank you" to Miss Mary and Miss Mary, Katie, Kaitlyn, Katie, and Cameron for your friendship :). (And yes, both sets of double names were intentional. Haha :).)
~A house, that, though it may not be our "forever" ideal, is warm, dry, has running water and lots of windows, and gives us a place to live together rather than states apart.

Some of the things that stick out the most to me as something to be deeply grateful for that are specific to this year are...
~The gift of Josiah, and the Lord's protection of him and Mommy. Oh how thankful I am to have him, and Mommy, here this Thanksgiving!!!
~Miss Mary and Mr. Joe. I am so thankful for the ways that they have invested in us this year. They have really become like grandparents to us :).
~My Mama, Tori, and several friends, who have joined me in studying the Word of God this year. Especially the book of Ruth. That one will forever be a special memory I think :).
~Our church. I am so thankful that the Lord has given us a church family here in VA! After it took us so long in SC to find a church that we felt was the one the Lord was leading us to, I was so very worried that it would take years again. I am so thankful to the Lord that he blessed us with one here so soon :). 
~Our trip to SC last month. It was such a blessing :). Many precious memories made, and lots of laughter shared :). And all the other times that we have gotten to see family this year, as well. Another big answer to pray, that we are still able to connect with family often even though we now live six hours away.
~Getting to meet Penny at the Maxwell conference earlier this year. Something that could only have happened living here in VA. God loves to give you surprises that make you realize he has had it all planned for years, doesn't he ;)?

And, during this last week, I have been especially thankful for...
~New jackets
~Todd Agnew's "Do You See What I See" CD.
~Hot chocolate.
~Gold ribbon.
~Our Christ-themed Christmas tree, and all the thought and lessons that Mommy and Daddy have put into it.
~Finding Josiah black socks (even if they aren't as dressy as they could be). Why don't little boys wear normal socks anymore?
~My glasses. This Sunday was exactly a year since I first wore them. Truly, you don't know how much of a blessing they are!
~Gift wrap earrings.
~Abbi and Emmi playing dress up in some Frozen dresses my Aunt Donna got them.
~An afternoon outside in the cool temperatures.And Josiah sitting quietly on my lap as we swung :).
~A clean house.
~Our once again working dishwasher!
~Space heaters. 
~Tacos... very necessary piece of our life... hahaha.
~Wintergreen toothpaste. Haha :).
~Daddy's cleverness in fixing the washer.
~Hair clips.
~All of our holiday traditions :).
~That we have more than five kernels of corn to eat each day (the Pilgrims, after the first thanksgiving, went through this ordeal after a ship brought more pilgrims and no food!)
~For our nation's founding on God's word.
~Mommy's excitement over Thanksgiving project ideas on Pinterest. And she used them, much as others think that Pinterest users never use the ideas they pin. Haha :).

Many blessings to you all :)! 


"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his
courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" 
                                                ~Psalms 100:4

Monday, November 24, 2014

26 Books for Young Women


 Mama and I were requested to put this list of character-building books for teenage girls together, and I'll share it here. I've mentioned half of these titles before on my blog, but half of them are new. My Mom has put a * out beside all the titles that she finds appropriate for younger readers (Bethi's age- 9) as well.

"Will Our Generation Speak" -Grace Mally…/will-our-ge…/

* "Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends" -Mally…/making-brot…/

"One Thing I Desire" -Sarah Bryant

"The Family Daughter" -Sarah Bryant

"Letters to a Daughter" -W.B. Sprague…/letters-to-a-daughter-o…

"Growing Up Duggar" -Duggar girls

"Esther & Ruth" -Ian M. Duguid…

"A Young Woman After God's own Heart" -Elizabeth George…/a-young-woman-after-gods-own-heart…

"A Chance to Die" -Elizabeth Elliot…/elis…/9780800730895/pd/730895

"The Hiding Place" -Corrie ten Boom…/the-hiding-place-the-triumphant-tr…

"No More Wasted Years" -Olivia Bradock…/no-more-wasted-years-olivi…/

"Joyfully at Home" -Jasmine Baucham…

"Its (not that) Complicated" -Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin

"Before You Meet Prince Charming" -Sarah Mally…/before-you-…/

“So Much More" -Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin…

"Fathers and Daughters" –Barret…/fathers-and-daughters-r…

* “Beautiful Girlhood”-Karen Andreola

* “How To Be a Lady” –Harvey Newcomb…/how-to-be-a-lady-useful…

* ”Raising Maidens of Virtue” –McDonald…/raising-maidens-of-virt…


"Stepping Heavenward" -Elizabeth Prentiss…/stepping-heavenward-P005536376

* "The Basket of Flowers" -Christopher von Schmid…/basket-of-flowers-the

"The Princess Adelina" -Julia Sutter (this on is rather an in-between book. All the happenings are historical, and most of the characters, but it is written in the style of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, with lots of added dialogue :).)…/the-princess-adelina-an…

"Mother" -Kathleen Norris…

* "Flower of the Family" -Elizabeth Prentiss…/newflower-of-the-family

* Mildred Keith series (7 books) -Martha Finley…/mildred-keith-book-one

* Elsie Dinsmore series -Martha Finely
A list of the Elsie books in order can be found if you scroll down at this link...

There are so many good books, and though we should always read looking through the lens of scripture, I think all of these will be a big encouragement to those who read them :). Are there any that you would add?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors", by Voddie Baucham

I read this book a while back, and have been planning on reviewing it ever since. So here it is! It won't be as fresh in my mind as I prefer when writing a review on a book, but it was such a good one, I couldn't not share it :).

What have you been taught about the story of Joseph? Maybe, like many people, it was used when you were little tell you that you shouldn't brag to your brothers. I mean, look at all the trouble that it brought to Joseph when he told his brothers his dreams about being royal! But was it also explained to you that Joseph's family had been known for their dreams (his father was the one who saw the staircase to heaven, after all!!!), and it probably wasn't Joseph's fault that he was the first family member who had bad consequences for sharing the things that the Lord showed him in a dream?

Did you know that to become second in command was not a blessing from the Lord, but a necessary trial to save his family? He was a Jew, chosen seed of God, ruling a pagan land while not being high enough to change the pagan laws, and given a pagan priest's daughter as wife!

And what does Joseph have to do with the gospel? A whole lot! You will be amazed at all the ways that Joseph's trials worked to bring about the events that worked in the background of the life of our Savior!

Mr. Voddie Baucham does a wonderful job holding your attention, making you think, and giving you details that you don't usually hear! This book really showed what significance this often told story holds, and how God's works are mysterious but perfect, and he uses some of the most unlikely people to carry out his will. One of my favorite parts of the book is where Mr. Baucham explains the tests that Joseph gives his un-expecting brothers.

This book was so good, and it will change the way that you look at the story of Joseph!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 136

~Josiah's adorable little crawl... on his hands and on the tips of his toes, he is hilarious!
~Apple cider vinegar to make tea with! We couldn't find it for a while, but Daddy finally was able to pick some up :). 
~Proverbs 30. I've loved this chapter for years :).
~A meal dropped off by our church family. So sweet! And maybe I should rephrase that, because it wasn't just one meal... haha! Leftover ham, and turkey and potatoes and rolls and other sides enough for several meals! They made up a lunch for the choir, and when they were packing up the leftovers, they decided to give them to us. They were so yummy, and very appreciated!
~Chasing Tori around the kitchen with a handful of bubbles, heeheehee :)! And, obviously, given that this is Tori I am talking about, being chased back. Actually, I was hit with bubbles first. But anyway... haha!
~Those who fought in World War 2... including our neighbor several houses back. He had some fascinating stories, but even if he hadn't, he was a really neat guy, and we are all thankful for him :). We watched a documentary the other day and got to talking about him :).
~Tori telling us facts she has learned. She learns some of the strangest things- I wouldn't even think to wonder about some of the stuff she finds answers to, haha! While we were watching said documentary, she explained to us that we wouldn't be eating m&ms if it weren't for the spanish civil war. She learned this reading a cookbook...?
~Hearing from my Grandma.
~Fellowship with an older couple from church over lunch.
~Getting to observe "Nemos!" with Peter at the italian restaurant. He loved it :). 
~Our neighbor's thoughtful act clearing our yard of leaves :).
~That we've got most of the winter clothes out of the attic.
~Rocking Josiah to sleep :)... he is sooo sweet!
 ~Popcorn and hot chocolate. Yummy!
~Christmas lights, bows, pinecones, and whatnot. So pretty :)! We started Christmas decorating the other day :)!
~A clean bedroom! I love relaxing with a book in bed when the room is clean, haha :).
 ~Eloise Wiliken's children's books. I love her illustrations so much!
~Lots of colored-on paper laying around the house... because that means I have lots of artist siblings!
~Abbi's excitement about her math. More power to her! Haha ;). She is good at it, though!
~Peter all excited about getting bacon for breakfast :). (He thought he was going to get a hamburger to go with it :P... but he was happy anyway :).)
~That we should have a working dishwasher in just a couple hours :)! Yay!

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
                               ~I Thessalonians 5:18


Monday, November 17, 2014

"The heavens declare the glory of God...

...and the sky above proclaims his handiwork", Psalms 19:1.

Did you know... that the sun is becoming brighter as it ages? And that, if the universe were really millions of years old, the sun would be 25% dimmer than it is now, making earth so cold and dark that nothing would survive?

And the moon is spiraling outward each year? If the earth and moon were millions of years old, the moon would have started out touching the earth!

And that, if the earth were millions of years old, the space dust which is constantly falling to earth would be so voluminous that it would be noticeable in the ocean?

Many people do not want to believe that the earth is young and made by God, because acknowledging that there is a God and that he is so powerful, they would have to give him their allegiance. But the universe has no problem doing what it was designed to do- to give glory to God, and to do it well, whether it is noticed or not!

It amazes me how even the stars and planets prove that, as the bible claims, the world is not millions of years old. Truly, even if  we "were silent, the very stones would cry out"!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Through Gates of Splendor", by Elizabeth Elliot

After watching a children's animation by the Voice of the Martyrs on Jim Elliot, I picked up this book and began to read it. It was so good, I finished it in just a few days, which is unusual for me lately, as I don't read as much as I used to!

The story of five young couples who came from different backgrounds and came together to use their strengths, the book shares how each couple was called to the mission field, how they learned to minister to the Indians, and how they found the "hidden" home of the Aucas, an Indian tribe so filled with fear that frequently lead to killings that nobody dared to interact with them. These five young couples - Nate and Marj Saint, Roger and Barbara Yuoderian, Ed and Marilou McCully, Pete and Olive Fleming, and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot- felt a burden to witness to them, and started Operation Auca. At first it was dropping gifts out of an airplane, then, after receiving gifts in return, they thought it was time to drop photos of themselves to familiarize the Indians with their faces. The men then set up a camp near the Auca's site, and tried several tactics to lure the Aucas to them, including calling out Auca phrases that an escaped Auca women, named Dayuma, had taught them. They had a visit from three Aucas, and felt that it went so well that they were sure to have a visit from the rest of the tribe quickly.

Two days later, they did have a visit from seven Auca men. Nate Saint informed his wife by radio that they had company, and he would call back later. That was the last time the women ever heard from them.

A rescue mission was set up, in hopes that at least some of the men were still alive, and just couldn't make contact. It was soon clear that this was not so. All five men were speared, and their plane was destroyed.

Though all five women had lost their husbands for the Aucas, and several of them were left with very small children to raise, they worked with another pilot to continue the gift flights with no thought of revenge. Their efforts were rewarded when one day the two Auca women who had been in the party of three on that one encouraging day when the missionaries thought that their fear was over, ended up in the village where Dayuma lived. She talked to them of the incident, went home with them, and soon they came back with seven other Aucas to ask for the missionaries to talk to them of God's word. Elizabeth Elliot, her daughter, and Nate Saint's sister Rachel went and worked with them for several years.

This story was so touching. One of the things that impressed me while I was reading it was that, while written by Jim Elliot's wife, she humbly did not give any more account of her and her husband's work then she did the other missionaries- or even just of her husband. She obviously saw their work and results as a whole, and would not be biased just by being closer to one of the members of "Operation Auca".

There are pictures (at least in our copy) included in the book... some of the pics of the Indians had already been colored over in our book when I got to it. Just throwing that out there, haha :).

This was Elizabeth Elliot's first book. She has written several others, including "A Chance to Die".

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 135

This week I'm thankful for...

~Josiah's second tooth :)!
~Peter going around the house singing about obedience :). So sweet!
~Elizabeth Elliot's "Through Gates of Splendor". It was so good :)! (On a side note, Lord willing I plan to start a bi-weekly, perhaps weekly, we'll see how it goes, book review on Saturdays. What do y'all think?)
~Tori's art. She is so talented :)!

~Sitting at the table working on bible study while Tori works on the other side. I might not have got as much study done as I planned ;), but the fellowship was wonderful :).
~Gingersnap cookies. Yummy :)!!!
~Andrew's finishing his first chapter book that he read on his own :).

~Glitter. I hate how it sticks to you if you touch it, haha :), But the glitter on stuff is so pretty!
~Colors. I love colors :)! But even more, I love this comment from Abbi: "When I get big and get my own house, I'm going to take the fan down, color each part a different color, and put it back up so when it spins it will make a rainbow!" Oh Abbi, haha :). Actually, it sounds pretty... hmm... ;).
~Boxes. Lots of boxes! We helped Daddy set up product at the state convention, and I am very glad we didn't have to carry things in a few at a time ;)!
~The Nye-Ham debate earlier this year. It is still getting out to people, through the book on it now, and that is exciting :)!
~The way Peter calls the rice crispy treats the neighbor gave us "Christmas trees", heehee :). (I'm not sure whether he remembers Emmi doing that, or if it just sounds that much alike!
~Mommy and Daddy's dedication in gathering us for family bible time every night.
~The character quality sheets my Mom keeps hanging up on our fridge.
~The reminder of how very important it is that we keep our lips from evil, and use our words to encourage; " A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly." (Proverbs 15:1-2)
~My water tumbler... I love those things, haha :).
~Peter beginning to pick out colors and shapes.
~A giraffe-shaped leaf. (Several people thought it was just the coolest thing, haha :).)
~Josiah banging on the piano... heehee :).
~Peter's announcing that his pjs, which say "Don't let the bed bugs bite", say "Don't eat Peter!". Haha :)!
~The sound of Tori making coffee, the "Piano Guys" Christmas cd, Josiah playing, and little ones doing their schoolwork :).

"Giving thanks always and for everything to God 
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
                               ~Ephesians 5:20 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 134

This week I am especially thankful for...
~The Reformation.
~That two days worth of work last week has resulted in a yarn chest that is NOT full of tangled yarn, but separate balls, and that I found the knitting needle I have been looking for for a week :).
~Cloud shaped slices of french bread (okay, I'm odd. But sometimes it's the little things, and it just made me smile. Haha :).)
~Time change. More specifically the falling back of fall time. I could do without the jumping ahead in the spring, but I love when we fall back, haha :). My internal clock runs on fall time, so it's always great for me to get back to that :).
~Being able to help Daddy with some of his work projects as a family last Sunday.
 ~Proverbs, and the many truths it teaches. And the wonderful group, consisting of my Mom, sister, and some friends, who have been studying through different books of the bible with me this year :).
~"Orphan Awareness Sunday" this week. Though I didn't get around to sharing it on my blog like I meant to, it was on my heart, and I am so thankful for all the ways God has put in place to bring families for orphans :).
~Pumpkin muffins... yummy :)! One of my favorite fall breakfasts :)!
~The hand mixer that Mommy got as a wedding gift... it was the one I learned to cook with, the one that we have used for all Christmas baking... it finally gave out.  That part is sad, but I'm glad for the baking memories that we made with it!
~Josiah's new tooth :)! Toothy baby grins are just around the corner as it gets quickly bigger, I love those smiles :)!
~Christmas music playing in the kitchen as I type this out... the "Piano Guys" Christmas cd, none the less, one of my top five :). It's making me want to get started on Christmas projects :)!
~Hebrews 13:15 :).
~Emmi excitedly making our bed because, as she puts it I "must be EXHAUSTED doing it every time!". Haha! No, not really... but thank you anyway, Emmi ;).
~A Daddy who knows how to grill. And a brother who likes to help. I still have never patted out hamburgers. And I'm okay with that. Heehee :). Daddy is still trying to get me to do it... he asked "What would you do if I was gone and you wanted a hamburger?". To which I answer... um, Andrew! Or just wait until Daddy gets home, haha!
~Abbi's love for the "Theo" shows.
~The shower of leaves and acorns that have been coming down all morning! A beautiful sight, and a reminder that "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24). We can be so thankful that God did that very thing for us... he, the bread of life, wheat of our existence, died, that we might have life!
~Seeing Andrew diligently reading his Bible and history books. 
~Abbi's excitement when Tori told her that they would read a chapter book together :).
~Tori in the living room playing Christmas hymns :). "How great our joy... how great our joy... joy, joy, joy!!!"
~Peter's comment last night "I love brownies!". So do we, Peter... perfectly cute excuse for some ;).

"Through him then let us continually 
offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is,  
the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."
                                        ~Hebrews 13:15 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Out doing others... in humility

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

I love these verses. While doing a study on Romans with my friend last year (it was only last year?!), this paragraph pulled at my attention every time I read it. I've talked about a couple of these verses before but I also wanted to share some thoughts on verse ten; "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

Typically when I think about "outdoing" someone, what comes to my mind is a proud, selfish way of doing things; to shove someone out of the way to show that you are better than them or to get all the praise. Or maybe getting permission to do something because you know that a sibling wants to do it and you want to annoy them. Before I noticed this verse, I really hated the mindset of "outdoing others" as I thought of it, of doing things just to get noticed rather than because you saw a need and wanted to fill it. Given that I realize that it is slightly ironic that these five verses have since become one of my life passages ;).

But when I first studied these verses, I read that section, "outdo each other in showing honor", and it made me stop and think about what I shared above. I wondered, why would we be told to out do others? Then I backed up and carefully read the verses proceeding it, all about holding to good and doing things through love. And I realized what this verse was trying to point out.

We are not being asked to out do each other in ways that will place temptation to be angry, or with the intent of pointing back at it later as "look what I did". 

We are being told to out do "in honor" "through love". Which is NOT sin! This kind of out doing would be things like being the first to say "I'm sorry"; being the first to give up your chair for an elderly person; being the first to offer encouragement.

There is out doing each other in a sinful way that hurts others for your own pride. But then there is out doing others *in honor*. And this truly means, doing all things in humility. Because when you do everything with humility, you will rejoice with those who accomplish great things; not put an emphasis on *what* you are doing, but *why* you are doing it; and bring glory to our Savior through his blessings.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Do Not Quarrel on the Way"

One of the things you are almost certain to hear or say when around children is "Don't fight". Arguing is most certainly not only acted out by little ones, though, as I'm sure you can attest to! We all, no matter how old, end up arguing about something often, as much as we know that it not "pure and noble", especially given the things that we tend to fight most about. We can get so caught up in the here and now that we never think "will this matter next year- or even tomorrow?". We just want to prove our point, even though it is not affecting any of us in a bad way to disagree. We in our pride feel like we must give the other party all the reasons that they are wrong, and get the last word in.

Given this, arguing is one of the biggest things that can get in the way when two or more people are trying to accomplish something together. It wastes time as they stop everything to hold a battle of ideas, and often gets in the way of their relationship. When Joseph revealed to his brothers that he was Jacob's son and sent them back to get their father to come to Canaan, "he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way." (Genesis 45:24). He knew that they would be inclined to point fingers and argue over who's fault it was that Joseph was taken to Canaan in the first place, and who should have to tell their father that he was alive- and that they had lied about what happened to him. He knew that the journey wouldn't be easy for them, and breaking the news would be even harder, but he didn't want any more relationship issues started in the family, and warned them to control themselves.

That's so much easier to say than do, isn't it?! I fall so many times in the area of controlling my emotions instead of letting them show in my words and tones to those I interact with. If someone criticizes, we jump on the defense, and if somebody uses a harsh tone, we bristle up, myself especially. It's an area that I've notice lately that I really struggle in.

What starts a argument? Not the humorous "battle of wits" that we particularly enjoy to hold around here (at which Tori can beat us all despite how silent she appears!), but real quarrels? A change in tone, a word spoken during stress, saying something a little too loudly to someone about someone else (which is gossip anyway- but totally different topic), not explaining or apologizing for something that you know would be offensive to someone. When those things happen, our flesh desires to let everyone know how we feel about the situation, either through our words, or, for others, through our silence. But what does the Lord teach us to do? "Repay evil with good" and "turn the other cheek".

Some practical ways to do this would be to answer with kind words said in a respectful, loving tone. To try to understand from the other person's perspective, and to listen without interrupting. I'm talking to myself just as much (more accurately, more) as any of you. I fail so often- especially in the area of answer in a loving tone. I know that this can only be done with the Lord's help, and I believe that it is very important to pray for the humility that aids you in laying down your arms and being used as a sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17) rather than a destroying fire (James 3:6). And pray that when you feel like doing anything that might start a quarrel, the Lord would remind you that not only is your obedience in responding correctly in question, but to respond wrongly would be putting a stumbling block in the other person's way, as well!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 133

I really have been trying to blog more lately, haha :). I have so much to share about earlier this month during our trip to see family, and some Thankful Thursdays done to share the great time we had will be coming, Lord willing next week. But for the time being I just wanted to share all the things I have to be thankful for *this* week :)!

~Serving the Lord with my family at our church.
~Watching Peter help all of the men bring in the chicken while we were making brunswick stew at the church last week. They were bringing it in on carts, and Peter was just working away :).
~And all of the people at our church who have invested in us. It was so sweet to see all the people we've gotten to know the past several months giving the little ones rides on the cart, having a picnic with them, and working together with others is always enjoyable to me :).
~Sitting with Peter talking to a dear friend last week.
~Mommy's many talents. She amazed our neighbor the other day when she found out that Mommy was the one who had given all the haircuts that morning :). 
~Tori's devious little mind... and all of the totally hilarious pranks she comes up with, haha :). Like taking face painting over one lady's birthmark.. and then giving her identical twin sister a birthmark instead. Haha!
~Learning new things with Tori.
~That, when Emmi was "damaged by the dob noor" (a.k.a., hurt by the door nob), it wasn't too bad. I love the way they talk ;).
~Watching Josiah scooting across the floor- he has finally started going forwards, haha :)!
~Coffee... nice, warm coffee... as much for warming my hands as enjoying the taste, lately, heehee :). I love fall... but the mornings have been so chilly this week, haha!
~A good book.
~Seeing Bethi cart Josiah all around.. it is both hilarious and sweet :).
~Our neighbor's blowing off our driveway just to bless us. So sweet :).
~The lessons the Lord has been teaching me... and his grace when I ignore them again and again and again.
~Getting to sew and fellowship with a friend here in VA yesterday :).
~The delicious soup recipe Mommy made!
~Colorful little Abbi. She is so funny... she just saw an orange Christmas tree and fell in love with it...?!?!?!? Heehee :).

 “My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation."
                        ~1 Samuel 2:1

Monday, October 27, 2014

Knit Together in Love Ministry

For those of you who love to crochet or knit and may want to use your talents to bless others this winter season, here is a fun opportunity! You can make a scarf, in any pattern or color, that measures 4" by 30" or bigger, and send it in to Ashley of "A Stay at Home Daughter". She will then get them to missionaries who will take them out to needy orphans and elderly people who need them :). I "joined" last year, but didn't realize that there was a deadline until too close to the deadline, and didn't actually get them mailed :P. Just to let you know that there IS a deadline, and it is January 10th of 2015 :). I'll definitely be sending in last year's scarves and making a couple more this year, and if any of you would like to join, I know that it would be a great blessing to those who receive them :)! There is also a new opening in the same project this year. As the ministry has grown,  the need for local coordinators has come up, if that is something you are interested in! For more information and the mailing address, visit :).

In Christ,

Bri :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Challenge to Give Thanks

King's Blooming Rose ministries has announced that they will again be holding a challenge to write out seven things you are thankful for each day this November! I joined the challenge last year, and it was a wonderful ending to my day each night :)! They have a private group that you can join to share your praises with others, which I am probably going to join this year, or they offer the option of just journaling it each day, which is what I did last year.

To find out more of the guidelines and look into joining, you can go to There is so much to praise our Lord for, and this is a great way to start making that a habit :)!

Blessings in our Savior,

Bri :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Leading by Example

I wrote this post a couple months ago, and kind of just let it sit in my draft folder. I am so imperfect... though I know these truths, and believe them, and want to follow the Lord in his leadings, I so often fail. But I wanted to share this post with you, not because I have it all together, but because I want to encourage those of you who may read it that even when we stumble, Christ can be glorified. "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." (Romans 7:21-25) "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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9). With that being said, when I say something like "recently" in the post, it is at least two months un-recent, but I wanted to share what was on my heart at the time, rather than what I think reading back through it :).

I've been convicted lately of just how much my siblings are watching me. They are so ready to follow my every move, so ready to follow my lead, whether I realize that I am leading not.

For instance, I recently started wearing more jewelry. It's not that I've ever had a problem with jewelry, I just rarely took the time to put it on. But I started wearing it regularly earlier this month. It took about two days before a couple of my sisters were doing the same, and it really made me realize how much they are watching me!

If I have a bad attitude, they are most likely going to as well. I have seen this happen many times, way more than I would like. Something happens that I don't like, and I speak to them with a harsh tone, and then they invariably answer in the same tone. But it works on the flip side, too. If I decide to follow the Lord's promptings and be gentle, so will they. Just the other day while I was babysitting, I started to fuss at Peter, and he started to scowl, but the Lord prompted me to be calmer, and you could see Peter's face melting as my voice softened, to the point of giving me a hug by the end of the correction.

They are watching everything I do, to see how I will respond, what I am going to do... and then do it themselves. God has placed this in the hearts of all little siblings... they want to be just like us. They want to match us, copy us, be like us. It is up to us, as the older sibling, to, with the Lord's blessing, keep their hearts open to following us... and to give them something worth following.

They are going to copy what we do... so maybe we should ask ourselves... do I want them to rejoice, or complain? Do I want them to speak gently, or harshly? Should they say please, or take that toy without asking? Your answer is going to be the former for all of those questions... but do we model that for them? And if we do, do we let them know that it is because Jesus directs our steps?

What are some ways you can think of to help your parents by your example as they follow the responsibility to train these little souls for Christ?

Growing by his Grace,

Bri :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Baking Soda Hair Solution

I've had a couple of friends ask me how I use baking soda to wash my hair after my mentioning it on Facebook awhile ago. Here's the method that I use:

To start off, you have to make the hair wash! I make about four washings worth at a time by bringing four cup of water to a boil, and then stirring in 1/4 of a cup of baking soda. Boiling the water first helps the baking soda dissolve. When I don't boil the water first, a few days after I make it I have a baking soda brick at the bottom of my soap bottle, haha! Once the water has cooled sufficiently, I pour it into an old, cleaned soap bottle.

I make a conditioner by taking another bottle and filling it with three cups of water and one cup of vinegar. I also add some vanilla beans to take away from the vinegar smell ;). The vanilla beans last for a while- I only switch mine out every few months. And this is optional, if you don't have any :).

When washing my hair, I pour about a cup of the vinegar over my hair, and scrub my scalp really well, then let it sit for three-five minutes. Then I pour about a cup of the diluted vinegar on my hair. This is both to condition the hair, and to break down the baking soda, making it easier to rinse out. I just give my hair a quick rinse, but if you don't have the vanilla beans, you might want to rinse the vinegar out pretty thoroughly ;).

We started using this method about four years ago. Mommy had to quit using it as it dried out her hair, and Tori's hair is so thick that it never really did much good for hers, but my hair *hates* shampoo!!! I can wash my hair with the shampoo that Tori and Mommy now use one evening, and it looks and feels like I need to wash it again the next morning! But using the baking soda, I usually only wash my hair about every three days.

I have a friend who uses honey to moisturize her hair along with the baking soda. For some people the baking soda and vinegar and/or honey works, for some it doesn't... for some they just think we're a bit nuts. Haha :). But it's about the only thing that makes my hair feel clean!

Have you ever used baking soda "shampoo"? How did you do it?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 130

This will be shorter than usual. It is so late, and we head out tomorrow (!!!!) morning for our grandparents house (!!!). Very excited, but we have so much to do, and I should be getting to bed, so I'll just type out a few things really quick and then be going. I've got a couple posts scheduled for this next week as we are gone, but probably won't have much time to be online while we are busy having fun with family :). 

This week I can be especially thankful for...

~Andrew, who turned eight on Tuesday!
~The time we had to help with the Hidden Treasures auctions the past two years. I was sad to hear that there are no more currently in the plans, but it is completely understandable with how things have changed, AND, it sounds like there are some plans coming up for other ways to help... so I am excited about that :)!
~Our colorful little Abbi... She was saying her prayers last night in a sing-song voice, and when she finished, she informed Daddy "I always do it colorful!".
~That I dream in color. I am told that that is not normal. That would disturb me I think to dream in black and white. Lol! And yes, that was brought back to my mind by talking about Abbi.
~Peter's snuggles... when I notice them. He climbed into bed with Emmi and I a couple nights ago in the middle of the night. Emmi wasn't too into it, and woke me up to complain. I was so tired I didn't even check before telling her to go back to sleep, she was just dreaming, it was okay, nobody was on her, move back over... rolled over to move her back to her side of the bed... and sure enough, there was Peter practically on top of her. Haha! That was so very odd!
~Tori, who is out right now celebrating her birthday with Daddy :).
~Acorns and leaves under my feet.
~Seeing Andrew and Bethi sitting together reading their bibles.
~A letter from a friend I hadn't heard from for a whole.
~Orange, fall, all that fun stuff... have I ever mentioned how much I love autumn?
~And our trip coming tomorrow :)!!!

"I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel."
               ~Psalms 71:22

Happy Birthday, Tori :)!!!!

 Close friend, goofball, my personal grammar- and spell-checker, "Bubby" to Peter, and lover of everything Lord of the Rings (except Frodo...)... a.k.a., Tori. Who turns thirteen today :)!!! And we can never hear again that we just have to wait until we're both teenagers to become fighters, because we woke up this morning pretty good friends, like always ;). In fact, she just accepted my friend request ten seconds after it was sent. Heeheehee!

Tori loves to read, and can make some yummy, yummy biscuits. I could really eat them as dessert, haha :). She lets me know when she thinks that something I've done could be done better... and is usually right. She has quite the artistic eye. She is also so good at playing the piano. She can hear a tune, and go pick out the notes right away... and she doesn't even have to be sitting at the piano to do it, it is amazing! I love to hear her play, and so does her buddy :). They can often be found listening to or playing music together, it is so sweet :). She's a wonderful "little" sister... who is only an inch shorter than me... haha :). 

Happy 13th Birthday, Tori :)!!!! I love you!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Andrew :)!!!

Andrew is eight years old today :)! That seems like an "old" number, haha!

Andrew has grown a lot in the past year... he is less than an inch shorter than Bethani and gaining on her steadily, and has made such big leaps in his reading that he can now read a book that Peter brings to him quickly enough to keep even Peter's attention, which is not exactly the easiest thing to do, since Peter still walks out on me every once in a while, heehee :). He loves to build things, and told Mommy a couple of months ago that he wants to build his own house when he gets big :). He has a current obsession with Narnia, much like the one Tori went through at his age, before LotRs became far more appreciated, haha! He loves to get out to the garage and straighten and sweep it, which is a wonderful help! He is currently enjoying a birthday outing with Daddy, and we're busy getting ready for his family party when he gets home :).

I love you, Andrew, and I am so thankful that you are in our family :)!

Happy 8th Birthday, Andrew :)!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Fruit of the Spirit is... SELF-CONTROL (and my 100th post on "Forget not his Benefits :)!)


I moved my blog here just under sixteen months ago, and this post will put me at the 100th post threshold. Such a fun milestone :)! Today is also the last day of our Fruits of the Spirit study... how did that happen we just started! This was so much fun, and I am thrilled to have gotten to share some of the fun with those who read my blog, even if it wasn't always on time ;).

Now, on to the topic of self control! Romans 8:13-14 tells us that "if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." And Proverbs 25:28 points out that "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." Self-control is so important! A lack of control over the desires of the flesh in which we once walked (Ephesians 2), can damage so much... not the least of which is the hearts and relationships of those you love. So many words or actions, said or done without controlling your emotions, go much father than we ever meant, but it hurts the other person just as much as if we had- sometimes more.

"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified," Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. People will go to great lengths to make sure that they win what they want to win in earthly riches, but so often we all, (myself definitely included!) forget what riches we gain when we use the self-control that comes with faith in our Lord. Hugh Black says "True self control means willingness to resign the small for the sake of the great, the present for the sake of the future, the material for the sake of the spiritual, and that is what faith makes possible".
I love how  C.H. Spurgeon says that self control "is the best medicine -for it is a preventative and a preservative as well as a cure." Not only will those who practice self control in their walk with the Lord be cured of past sins, but it will also help them as they run the race of faith to also keep them from sins that they have not been acquainted with before!

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil", Ephesians 5:15-16 reminds us. There is so much that seems like it is good- and might be in moderation. But there comes a point where we have to evaluate our priorities and decide if what we are doing is really the best use of our time. We are given such a short time on this earth when you think of the thousands of years that it has been in place. What can we do to make the biggest impact for our Lord through our Lord?
Blessings in the Lord King,
Bri :)

The fruit of the Spirit is... FAITHFULNESS and GENTLENESS

I love the way that Psalms 36:5 describes the vastness of our Father's faithfulness to us... "Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." His love is more immense than we could ever imagine, his faithfulness higher than we could ever reach! Jesus is faithfulness, Revelation 19:11 tells us; "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war." The Lord is so faithful to us, undeserving as we are! 1 John 1:9 reminds us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When you are given faithfulness, it should make you want to show faithfulness back, and the disciples understood this. The story told in John 6:66-68 illustrates this when it says "After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”"There is no one who deserves more faithfulness and thankfulness from us than the Lord our God! This hymn is a praise to God's faithfulness in a tone of deep thankfulness...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been,Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

I love the faithfulness of David to his brother in the Lord, Jonathan. They made a covenant to each other, and even after Jonathan died, David stuck to that promise and cared for his family for years. Ruth also showed faithfulness to Naomi when she followed her to the Promised Land even after Naomi tried to discourage her and gave her no thanks.
Faithfulness is not always being the one who will go along with those we know just to prove that "we will do anything with and for that person". True faithfulness is, at times, leading them back from a path of sin, even if this is painful for the person- or for you. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy," says Proverbs 27:6. But even while using faithfulness to correct, you must also use faithfulness to connect. Just because you are correcting others does not mean that you should let all bets off and say or do anything that could damage your relationship. When David's son Absalom tried to take the kingdom and started a war, in faithfulness to his kingdom, King David had to fight back. But that didn't mean that he gave up faithfulness to the bond between him and his son. He wanted to correct the wrong, yes, but he also wanted to restore the relationship. "And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom" (2 Samuel 18:5). He announced both his desire (though Joab did not listen) and his method-gentleness- publicly. Which leads me to a few words on the fruit of gentleness :).

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere," says James 3:17. Wisdom and gentleness go hand in hand, and I think that is logical, since those who practice gentleness are often the ones who listen the most. I read a poem in my fourth grade English book that said 

"A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?"
That poem has stuck with me ever since. This "wise old owl" was not clamoring to be heard or put in the spotlight, but was quietly listening to others before he drew his conclusions. Often, the reason we do not respond gently is because we deal with an issue before we have all the details that will shed light on the situation, and it causes us to stress and react harshly. 
But look at what David says to the Lord; "You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great" (Psalm 18:35 ESV). Isn't it true? When you deal with a little one as they are learning something, don't they respond better as you deal gently with them rather than rushing them? I don't speak from a lot of experience here... patience, self-control, and gentleness all fall under the same category for me... category "I definitely need God to continue growing my obedience in those areas!". Haha :). But the Lord is faithful to continue to teach me and grow me, and for this I am thankful :)! These verses are a wonderful reminder of the bond of unity that we are to have with others; "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness." (2 Timothy 2:24)

Blessings to you as you serve our Lord,

Bri :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 129

This week I am especially thankful for, in no particular order, because it's late and I'm tired... haha...

~The smell of pumpkins cooking.
~Spiced pumpkin seeds and pumpkin muffins.
~Planning our trip to SC in just two weeks :)!
~The way Josiah is always clapping his hands together :). (When not throwing a temper tantrum. Hahaha!)
~Flowers on the table.
~All the little special touches my family put on my birthday celebration after Daddy got home.
~The chipmunk that has been visiting our yard lately. He is so cute!!!
~Josiah's starting to wave.
~Watching a spider take down her web- I know spiders are kind of gross, but it was actually a neat experience. This particular spider has been camping outside of our window for weeks- right in the middle. Until Andrew had knocked down her web half a dozen times, and she got smart and moved to the upper left corner that he can't safely reach. But it was rainy yesterday, and I guess she decided to do fall cleaning while the bugs weren't out, because she was taking it down. She would roll it up like a carpet, and then bite it all at once, or wrap it with thread to keep it out of the way... and she had a safe line the whole time, because whenever she bit (or picked... I'm not sure) a main string it would send her bouncing back. It was really quite interesting!
~Ruffles piling up behind the sewing machine as I work :).
~Abbi and Emmi's friendship with my friend's little sister. I have loved watching them get to know each other through skype :). And interacting with her and her sister and the rest of her siblings myself, of course :).
~The Fruits of the Spirit :).
~The likes that the Pleven Project has gotten. They are still far from their goal, but they are getting there!
~Peter's love for "oatmeal cookies". A.K.A., my chocolate cookie overnight oatmeal. Loves that stuff. He asks for it every morning... the rest of us like variety. Haha!
~My concordance.
~My KBR magazine that got here a few days ago :)! We are too busy right now preparing for our trip for me to do much reading other than bible study, but it will be a wonderful addition to our trip next week :)!
~Josiah's realizing my glasses are NOT part of my face... the baby actually started crying. It was hilarious! And, yes. I am mean.
~The squirrel that ended up in Abbi's frog tank... hahaha!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."
                                                     ~Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The fruit of the Spirit is... KINDESS and GOODNESS

First off, I can't believe that we are half way done with this study, and two-thirds of the way through the fruits of the spirit! I have really enjoyed this :). I hope that these posts have been a blessing to a few of you, but even if they haven't, I know it has gotten me thinking to write them! That is one of the reasons I love writing, it makes you really ponder things that I would otherwise run past :).

Kindness and goodness. They bring very much the same thought to our minds, somebody who is willing to go out of their way for something. Kindness would be those who are willing to go out of their way for those who need help, even when they don't ask, and might even not appreciate, it, doing, as Luke 6:31 says "unto others as you would have them do unto you". Goodness would be going out of your way to do what is right, even when nobody sees it, just because you know that God wants you to do it.

I found it very interesting to realize, while I was studying today, that the word 'kindness" isn't in my concordance! "Goodness" is also little used. Part of the reason for this is because they are often used instead as "mercy" or "compassion" and "righteousness". But I think it is very fitting, as these two fruits are both very important, but are best shown by those who are humble and never think of what they can get, but what they can give. Following Christ and being a blessing to others when done with a right heart is never done for show. Of course, we shouldn't only be following the commands of our Lord so that others will look at us and say "Oh, they're so impressively godly!". That is pride, and that's not godly! Besides which, we have no goodness without Lord; Psalms 16:2 says, "I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” But some of the fruits of the spirit, such as love, or joy, should be openly shared, while kindness and righteousness are usually best carried out by doing the little things that nobody notices. Helping a little one clean up their mess without letting them know how undesirable it is for you, even when they were told not to make it in the first place, sharing the truths of the Lord with others, and taking a meal to someone are all acts of kindness. Loving those who might hurt us, setting aside time to spend with the Lord, and following God even when it is hard, without any pride in our hearts, are all what would be considered "goodness".

I think a wonderful way to illustrate these fruits is found in Luke 10:25-39, the parable of the good Samaritan...

"And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”"

After this man was beat and left for dead, two men walked by. One was a priest. While claiming to have religion, he had no goodness. The other was a Levite. While being one of the chosen men of Israel by God's kindness, he showed none. But the third man to make it down the road had both. This man needed help, and so he showed him kindness and took care of all his needs. Then he went over and beyond that, following the Lord to also take him somewhere where he could rest and fully heal, free of personal charge. 

Christ was "wounded for our transgressions, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5), "so that in the coming ages God might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:7). He showed kindness in saving us from a life in hell, but he also went above and beyond that to give us a place of rest in our father's house, free of personal charge. Not because we deserved it, but because, out of his mercy and love, his kindness and goodness, his compassion and grace, he wanted to extend to us riches of grace to us in measures we could never imagine or hope for. 
 I think this is a good verse to sum this up... "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9. A mind that is ready to embrace others suggestions as long as they don't compromise God's commands, a heart ready to do all you can for those who are hurting, sharing love for others even when they are unkind to you. May God grant that through him we would be able to do all of these things!

What are some acts of kindness and goodness in following the Lord that you could do this week?

~Bri :)