Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor"

I found this little hymn tucked away in a book I was reading earlier, and I wanted to share it with y'all :). Jesus Christ, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross," to pay for the sins we have committed against him simply because of his love for us!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Peter :)!

Happy birthday to Peter-bug :)!
Peter is a goofy, random, lovey little guy. His favorite cookie is a monster cookie, and he loves to look through Tori's sketching book. He has started doing some awesome little drawings of his own, which are just adorable, but also bring out a perfectionist side of him, as he compares them to his much older "bestest buddy's", haha. He has very definite fashion opinions, telling Tori without reserve that she should not curl her hair, but braids are a must, and I hear Mommy was instructed to "never buy" a shirt they saw in the store the other day ;). He loves music, and has since he was an itty-bitty baby. He also *loves* sandwiches from a fast food restaurant. It doesn't matter what kind it is, and he doesn't get them often; but hand him one, and he tears the wrapper off, gasping, "A present sandwich!"

Happy birthday, Peter :)! I love you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

I'll admit, I took too long!

You've been warned that this is not a post of me flying through something in a timely fashion ;).

Back a couple weeks before Peter was born (almost three years now!), I made a couple pairs of baby booties, one in pink and one in blue, as we didn't know yet that Peter was Peter, haha :). I used this pattern here. I thought they were adorable, and had a lot of fun making them! But I neglected to do one important thing... I didn't check my gauge. This doesn't matter on things like toys or washcloths, and at that point the way you found out how to change your gauge confused me, so I just kind of skipped over it.

Well, it is important when you are making clothes, especially when you don't even use the recommended yarn :P. Needless to say, I made one pink baby bootie, and quickly realized that no 3-6 month baby would fit in them, haha! It was tiny! It was also adorable, but useless for my purposes, haha. I actually researched how to find out my gauge and how to change it, and got some new, corrected ones done. Abbi, very little Abbi at that point, spied the tiny useless first one, and asked me if it was for her doll. "Well, I guess it can be. I don't need it. I'll make you the other one sometime", I answered.

Well, that sometime finally came this last Sunday. I let it sit in my cabinet for years, because I was just always "too busy". But I decided it was time to stop being "too busy", and start diligently doing things that actually count, and lo and behold, I actually did have time! And the grin Abbi, who had forgotten her request, gave me when she got them was such a precious reward :)!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday, Week 158

This past week has been such a blessing! There have been lots of big and little instances that I have just loved... things like....

~One of the ladies from church offering to pick me up to take me to a church event this last week. Daddy had the big van, so Mama couldn't go, but I was able to go thanks to this sweet lady's taking time out of her day to swing by the house before heading there, and I enjoyed the chance to help out and fellowship :). I am so thankful for our church and church family! Lots of blessings there, too :).
~The book "It's (not that) Complicated". I mention it to others a lot even now, but it had actually been years since I had read it! I decided about February that it would be a good idea to re-read it, and just days later I saw that the bloggers of "Joyfully His" were doing a series through the book (which has been great fun, and you might want to check out the posts even if you don't have the book, might I add). So I've been going back through the book as they post their thoughts on it, and it's been a great blessing!
~Romans 12. If you have been reading here for any length of time, you have probably heard me mention that Romans is my favorite book of the bible, and you've probably heard me mention Romans 12:12 a couple times as one of my favorite verses. I made it a goal to memorize chapter 12 this month, and I have quickly realized it is probably going to be known from here on out as my life chapter. Even reading through the book of Romans over fifty times now, I had just barely scratched the surface of Romans 12, as I quickly discovered as I started memorizing it! But it is so full of sentences that really make me stop and think about things like, "How could I "contribute to the needs of the saints"?", or "Am I really living, so far as depends on me, peaceably with all? Is my love genuine, and do I abhor what is evil while holding fast to what is good? And when I am doing these things, am I realizing that it is through the grace given by God to use?" It's just a very thought-provoking chapter to me!
~"Parties" held on my bed every night. I love sitting down with a host of little people to read books together... even if it's the same one that we read the night before.... and the night before that... and... haha :). Every once in a while I go through a phrase where I just feel like I "don't have time" to do this every night, but eventually something (usually Emmi, haha :)....) gets a hold of me, and I realize juts how much I miss it :).
~Getting Hidden Treasures auction items ready to be mailed with Abbi and Emmi and Bethi. They did most of the work themselves, including writing little thank you notes for the donors, and I was so excited to get the two little girls involved this time! It was sweet to have them working on that, and excited about it!
~Being able to help Daddy. This a blessing due to both being homeschooled, and his having the heart to train his children rather than take the "short way out".
~Running into our pastor's wife and another lady from our church at a conference we went to last week, which was a fun surprise :).
~Josiah's sweet little self enjoying the swing on Monday. He almost fell asleep I do believe, haha! He just sat there for the longest time... and he barely sits down to eat (seriously, the best way to get him to eat, say, oatmeal, is to let him walk around the room in between bites. It is so weird, hahaha!), let alone for no reason, so that is big ;).
~Pansies! Our past yards have been full of pansies for as long as I can remember, but this yard is not exactly one we can do much with, especially since we don't know how long we'll be here. But Mama found a pansy plant that she fell in love with several weeks ago, and it is now gracing our deck :). It feels like another bit of "normal" has been added back to daily life... It's amazing how something so small can seem so big when you didn't even realize you missed it!
~And, on that note, daffodils, and all the other sunshin-y things that come with spring :). I love fall best, but after winter, I get so excited about the sun coming out and brightening everything up, and the flowers coming up, and everything turning green :).
~Being able to read and write. As Tori was looking on Pinterest the other day I saw a quote, something to the effect of, 'A man needs to know only one thing: how to get to the local library.' But really, I've rekindled a drive to read this past month, haha, and I was so excited to pick up a pen and write for no reason the other day. And all this may partially explain my post the other day, heehee :)...
~Getting to run to Hobby Lobby with Mama yesterday morning. As a side note, who else has a strange obsession with paper? I used to be able pass it up with a "Oh, that's pretty!". Now... I quill. And every piece of paper can be the background of SOMETHING. Sometime. When I figure out what that something is. Hahaha!
 ~The little things that we so often overlook. A gift from a neighbor, a phone call from a friend, new skills that others are blessing us through, a bird right outside the window, dogwood trees in bloom, and words of encouragement from others... I am so blessed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Words Fitly Spoken

 Words. I love words! We all use them... through thoughts, text, pen and paper, or verbal communication, even those of us who are quieter are constantly using and processing words. They are a way to praise our Lord (Psalm 105:1), save and share memories and mercies (Psalm 78:5-8), and encourage others to pursue righteousness (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Of course, the opposite can happen when we do not use our words wisely, and we all know that it can cause trouble and many tears. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" (James 3:5). But "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Proverbs 25:11), and these are the type of words we want to use. I've had words and encouraging others on my mind a lot lately. I know I am not nearly encouraging enough, and I often make sarcastic and even hurtful remarks, especially to my younger siblings when I think they are taking too long with something that I am waiting for them to finish. And so lately, I have been thinking through the question, what exactly are words of encouragement, fitly spoke?
Are "words of kindness" only those words that I think that the other person wants to hear? Are they false praise just so that I can make the other person "feel good" about themselves? Are they maybe any words I want to say, no matter how cutting, as long as I "kindly" say them in a sticky sweet voice? These types of words may sound "kind" by the world's standards, but are they truly "fitly spoken" words? Kind, encouraging, timely words are so much more than this! They can come in the form of praise, yes. But they can also come in the form of encouragement to do right , and even pointing out the negative, when done through love.
Several years ago, Mama and Tori and I were planning a fun afternoon, but Tori wasn't finished with a project yet, and was running out of time. As I walked by her, I stopped to tell her, "I want you to be able to enjoy this with us. You still have time to finish before we start, if you work really hard!" I walked by with no idea that I had said anything that would have a real impact on her, but she came to me later, work completed and ready to join us, and told me, "Thank you for encouraging me earlier." I had no idea what she was talking about until she explained, "Knowing that you really wanted me to have fun with you and Mommy really encouraged me to actually try to finish on time." I had no idea that all she needed to spur her on was the fact that her contribution was a valued one, but her simple words afterwards encouraged me that it doesn't have to be big to be a blessing to someone else! I couldn't at that point in time praise her for finishing her work, but I could encourage her to do so.
With that thought, what are some of the others ways that we could show kindness through our words that we might not think of when we think of "kind words"? Maybe your Mom would share with you that she saw you doing or saying something that she thinks you could have done better without. Are these unkind words? Though our human flesh might tend to think so in the moment, because we are all sinful beings, and our hearts find it easier to embrace our desires than the words of Christ, your Mom is simply trying to protect, train, and care for you in the best way that she knows how, and this is one of the best ways that a person could be kind to us! Or maybe you have a friend that has told you about a situation that is going on, and you know that the Lord is asking you to point out the ways that she could work through it that would be more to His glory. Pointing out the issue can be hard. But if you had a friend or family member who saw that you were headed in the wrong direction, would you really want them to be silent? You might not like what they have to say at first, but would it really be kind of them not to point out a sin because they think maybe you would take it as unkind?
Of course, you can have the best intentions and still use unkind words. You could be following the Lord's commands to the letter, and be "encouraging" others to do the same in such a way that they never want anything to do with it. Simply telling them to "do this" or to "do that" can not be our goal. Encouragement to do right will only be true encouragement if it comes from a heart following the Lord (Luke 6:45). As with everything else in our life, our starting point must be planted in righteousness... and this can only come through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to die for our sins, because no heart is good on it's own. And even on the cross, hung there by our sins, by our evil deeds, by our ungodly words and tones... when he could not say  "well done, thou good and faithful servant", because we in our own attempts at righteousness will always fail at our best, he still uttered those last loving words, "Forgive them". He had every right on that cross to speak words of eternal doom, to prove that he was God by coming off that cross and never paying for our transgressions, but he would not, and because of his sacrifice, we now have the words of comfort, "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin" fulfilled. He has bought us as His own, and as we praise Him for His love, we will also desire to share that love with those we meet, through our actions and through our words. Nobody is perfect. We have not yet reached heaven, and Christ is still continuing to break our hearts of stone. But through Jesus' grace, He will make us more and more like him!
I am praying that the Lord would make me tender to the words I use. I want to be more thankful -how many times has someone done something Daddy had originally asked me to do and I've barely acknowledged them? I want to be more encouraging to those things that others are working on. Something simple, like Peter picking up a toy and putting it away without being asked, is still big enough to merit a "good job!". I want to be less critical. So many things that I bring up for the sake of "correcting" an issue could just as well be left alone. And when I do have to bring up an issue, I pray that I would remember to do so with a "soft answer that turns away wrath", rather than simply doing it to satisfy my own harsh standards for perfection in others when I can not even keep myself to that standard. And though my best efforts will be as filthy rags, in Christ they can be made white as snow. Praise him for his great gift of Salvation!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hidden Treasures, April 2015

The Hidden Treasures auction is up in full swing, and there are just three days left to go and gain some fun items while helping out a family bringing home a treasure! You might want to take a look around, maybe bid, or just pray... every little bit helps! If you could pray for the auction coordinator, as well, her family could really use it right now.

I am so thrilled that these auctions are back in swing... I've really missed them! The little boy this auction is for, Brandon, was in the process of being adopted a while ago, but then the paperwork ran into a wall and the family had to back down. But Brandon is now super close to being funded to go home to his forever family... the same one who had to step down, but were able to step back up for him recently, so he already has a neat story :)!