Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve :)!!!

As I look back at the past year, it's been so very full. Late January, Tori agreed to join choir with me, and that has been such a joy! My Aunt got married in March, and, during our trip to TN for the wedding, several of the little ones came down with the flu, which made for a very interesting wedding rehearsal. But, despite how miserable they were, they lived through it, and the wedding was *beautiful*, and while in the state we got to visit a historic site and tour a cave, which was wonderful :)!

Our summer was *bus-y*! My very bestest ever friend and her sister came for a week long visit! I truly can't tell you how much of a blessing that was. It was the first time we had actually met in person, so you can imagine how exciting that was! We got to go to Jamestown while they were here, which created mannnnny memories... haha :).

Right after the girls left, we headed down to SC to visit family. It is always a treat to go down there! On our way back home, my parents surprised me by picking up two of our friends to stay with us a few days :). While they were here, Mama announced that she was expecting :D! The new baby should arrive in March, and I am so very thankful for another sibling <3.

I started up an Etsy shop, Under The Tapestry, in August, and in September I turned 18... no, I don't feel like an adult. I actually don't think I ever will, haha. My Gramma, Granny, Aunt Donna, Aunt Jane, Aunt Bobby, Aunt Heather, and Uncle Greg all drove many hours to come here for my birthday. It was such an awesome surprise!

A few more birthdays, a few more trips for Daddy, the opportunity to give the message for children's church, and daily life filled our time until the holidays, when we enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving, Advent, St. Nicholas Day, and Christmas. I love this time of year, but it just went by too fast this year! The Sunday after Christmas, we said goodbye to our Pastor, and now we are enjoying having Daddy home for a week, after how busy he was at the store during Christmas :). 

For me, some of my favorite posts on my blog this year were these...
An Afternoon... -To be quite honest, there wasn't much "to" this post. But I loved that morning, and as the last Hidden Treasures auction that we got to work on, I am so thankful that we got to work together for it :).
While I was a Sinner -This one. I wrote it as I was going through a rough time. This year has seemed full of fear and doubt for me. I'm not going to say it was over when I shared that post. But it did help to be honest about the fact that that is a struggle for me, and it is one of my favorite posts, no matter how raw.
For We Ourselves -This post was actually written during the time I was going through at the time of writing that last post, but I waited months to actually share it, because I wasn't sure I wanted to actually put it out there. But after I made the plunge, I had no regrets, haha :).
No Worthless Task -This one was written on a whim after my devotions one morning :).
Contributing to the Needs of the Saints, Part 3  -I enjoyed writing the entire Romans 12 series, haha! But if I had to choose a favorite, it would be this post. And that is probably because, again, the issue has been very close to me the past several months.
Trust -This one was only a few days ago, so I feel redundant sharing it again, haha :). But it is what is on my heart as I look at the coming year, and I had to include it.

Now here it is New Year's Eve -and the day has been interesting. Broken dryer, broken picture frame, marker on the wall, parts missing to the grill Daddy bought that we're planning on using tonight, a whole maple twist thrown on the floor right before it was supposed to go in the oven... one of those days. Daddy mentioned hoping it's just all getting out of the way at once, rather than being a preview to 2016. But, in all truthfulness, I am looking forward to the next year. I'm kind of apprehensive, as I have a feeling that it will probably bring more changes then pretty much any other year of my life so far. But I am excited, as well. I am hopeful that this year will be a year of growth, in many ways.

But before we head into the New Year, I want to share with you some of the things that I have been thankful for lately :)! I also want to let you know that this will be the last "regular" Thankful Thursday. It took me a long time to make this decision. My blog title came from my Thankful Thursday lists, and I do, somehow, feel that it is wrong to stop them. But I think it's time to let them drop. I'm not saying my Thankful posts are done -I promise you, I will still have the desire to share one once in a while, because I do love writing these posts! But they're not going to be a given every week anymore, and they'll not even be restricted to a certain day. The reason I started these posts was to make sure I took time in my life to remind myself of all that the Lord was doing for me, and I have actually started doing that, on paper, every night (at least, more every-night-ish than I've posted every Thursday, haha!). To be honest, I miss writing descriptive-heavy "fun" posts about our life, and they are hard to fit in with Thankful Thursdays each week (when I'm actually blogging and that happens ;) ), along with my other more "thoughtful" posts. I just wanted to share that with you, because I feel like, as the reader, you should hear about big changes ;). Haha :). Now, this Thankful list :)!...

~Snuggling little ones all ready for bed in comfy PJs from some friends :).
~Josiah enjoying picture books. He has fallen in love with them this past month!
~Josiah's adorable little "Here! Here!", as he tries to climb up you... I'm not sure if he means "Here I am, I want you", or "Here's the best thing you'll find in the house, pick me up immediately". I have my suspisions. But nevertheless, it's cute :).
~Wrapping presents with Tori Christmas Eve. Might have been the highlight of my Christmas, hahaha! She's awesome...
~That Christ came to earth to pay for our transgressions, to redeem us. How incredible!
~That he took part in our trails so that he might be our Righteous Judge.
~Cable sweaters.
~Our Pastor and his family, and the blessing they have been to us in our church.
~The sock monkeys he gave out to all the little ones in church before he left. If you don't know, our "church mascot" of sorts was a one legged sock monkey by the name of Peg Leg Pete. So, when our Pastor left (and took it with him), he gave some to the children to remember him by :).
~All the projects I got accomplished last week. Including a new skirt made out of scraps from some I made a couple years ago, haha :).
~Homemade caramels and other treats ;).
~The grace of the Lord.
~2015, and the new year full of anticipation :)!

Happy New Year and blessings in our Savior,

Bri <3

Sunday, December 27, 2015

There is a Time

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Life is full of changes. We go about our lives, and in the midst there come changes that we notice right away, and other changes that happen so gradually, that it takes us a while to realize that they are even taking place. Some changes are for the better; some we aren't sure about. There are some people who can get excited about the thought of change; but for some of us, even a change that we look forward to can often seem terrifying. But however we react to changes, they are sure come all throughout life.

After we moved to VA, we  spent several months visiting churches. To be perfectly honest, I cried many weeks. It had taken us so many years to find the church that we were attending in SC before we moved. I sometimes wondered why we had to leave just a couple years later and start all over again, possibly taking another several years to belong anywhere. While we were searching, we heard many good sermons, and I was thankful for those, especially one about keeping our eyes on God's plans for the future instead of on what we missed from the past. With the changes that we had been going through, I needed that lesson, and I don't think I'll ever forget it, though I have a feeling that I'll have to work hard to follow through on it many more times. But no matter how much the sermon blessed me, after it was over and people I had never seen before started coming up, it was so hard for me. We were all constantly answering the same questions to dozens of people that I knew we probably wouldn't talk to more than 3 or 4 times. "Are you all siblings? How many boys versus girls? Grades? Ages? Names? Are these two twins?" I desperately missed having people around us who cared for us each as individuals, and not just as the biggest family they'd ever seen.

We eventually ended up at the church that we have been going to for about a year and a half now. And every time I think about the first Sunday we were there, I remember 2 things. 1. I was told Happy Mother's Day by a lady who thought that Abbi was my daughter, heeheehee... and 2., there were several people there that day who asked all the same questions that we are always asked when we go to a new church. But several of those people asked the questions individually. Not, "What are all the names and ages?" to a single person like it was a trivia game, but "What is your name? How old are you?", like they were really connecting with the person. `

No church is going to be perfect. A church is made up of sinful human beings, and as such, we are constantly being worked on by the Lord, and the body of believers will not be a perfect church until that day that the church is gathered at the throne of Christ. But so many of the people here at FBC welcomed us with open hearts (and open arms), and I've been so thankful for the blessings and fellowship we have been given there.

Today our church said goodbye to our Pastor, as he moves to be with family. God is calling him on, and it is going to change many things, for him and his family, of course, but also for us as a church body. We will miss them. And things will be uncertain for a while. But I am also thankful for the example they set of following the Lord into the unknown. And as Pastor Todd challenged this morning, how can we make our time count? This new "time" is ours to use for the kingdom.

Our family knows that we will not be staying in VA for the long haul. We don't know when or where we will move eventually. It will probably be sooner rather than later. And, at times, I still continue to doubt. Why were we sent here for a short time? Why learn to love something to say good bye? But then I remember, in the words of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh (I get my words of wisdom from only the best sources ;)...), "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

We were sent here to learn, and grow. To form relationships with the people who will forever be part of what makes me look back at our time here as a blessing, no matter where we end up. And when we move next, we will have more lessons, and grow more through God's grace. And we will have many precious people who will still be part of our lives, even if it's over long distance. And the Lord will give us opportunities that we may glorify Him in, looking forward to his glory, rather than being discontent for the past. No matter where we are. No matter what "time" we are walking through. Joy or sorrow, feasting or fasting, silence or speech, planting or harvesting.

"'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I," said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'" ~J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thankful Thursday. 12/17/15

~That each day is "a new day with no mistakes in it"... yet ;).
~The forgiveness of the Lord.
~Abbi's diligence and delight in making Christmas gifts :).
~Getting our room cleaned. I mean, it gets cleaned up often... but I didn't realize until I was dusting, how long it had been since I'd done stuff like said dusting ;). Lol!
~Our St. Nicholas Day celebrations :).
~Josiah's utter delight over a new toothbrush :). He is so cute!
~Pretty cups and cozy sock, and good books to read while drinking coffee. You know... the things that make an afternoon perfect :).
~All the gift buying and gift making we've been doing the past couple weeks! I love planning Christmas! It's coming a little too quickly, though... I really need to get moving along, lol...
~The tacky light drive here where we live :). It's given us something to replace the trip we used to take to the "Lights before Christmas" at Riverbanks zoo. We did that last week, and fully enjoyed it :)!
~Being alive in Christ.
~The stars in the sky.
~Our Christmas cantata :)! I think it went really well, and I was so happy to get to be a part of it :)!!!
~Getting my glasses tightened up.
~And Daddy fixed our lamp in our room :).
~Crochet tutorials.
~Peter's learning to sign his own name :). His R looks a little bit like an A... which I love, because people say his name "Peeta" all the time, because he's so sophisticated, heehee :).
~That our Lord intercedes for us.

I pray you each have a wonderful week :). Merry Christmas :)!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


"And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff- no bread, no bag, no money in their belts- but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, 'Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.' So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And he cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them." Mark 6:7-13

Can you imagine the trust that the disciples must have had to go out into the world, with nothing but what others provided for their needs? Of course, Christ knew that they would be cared for and given the grace to go through whatever was put in their journey... but they had to trust him. And, by all accounts that we are given, they did just that. They passed the test, and they ministered to others, and they came back and they shared all they had done and seen with Jesus. I can not even begin to imagine the different stories that they had to tell, and how they interrupted each other to slip in little details. Maybe some hung back at moments, not wanting to share the moment that touched  them most with a crowd, but wanted to simply hold onto it as something precious. Possibly there were some who waited until the general excitement was over and they were in the boat to slip apart and ask Jesus' opinion on something that had happened, with no interruptions so that they could be completely open and honest. There were surely some, like Peter, who just could not stop exclaiming about how wonderful it was when God provided in such-and-such a way, or when this person finally got God's truths. But not matter how it worked out, we know that they were given a taste of how the Lord would provide and work through them, and wanted to share it with Christ. And now, Jesus noticed their need for a quiet supper, and they headed for a desolate place.

But the crowds, followed, and Jesus had compassion on them. They were lost, and they needed a shepherd. And so, he immediately stepped in and taught them "many things". It went on, and nobody wanted to leave- this time of listening to Jesus teach was too precious. So they stayed, getting hungrier and hungrier, but still not hungry enough to abandon the Word of God.

And Jesus had compassion on them again, and told the disciples to feed them.

And the disciples doubted.

"Shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?", they asked. Should we go buy bread that would cost 7 months worth of wages to feed these people? Would it be enough? Where would we find that sort of money?

How soon they forgot the trust that they had just learned. Forgot the moments of need that God had given supply for, that they had just been so eager to share.

He doesn't reprove them. 'For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14. He could have rebuked them- and does, often. But right now, he simple goes about providing for them again.

"And he said to them, 'How many loaves do you have? Go and see.' And when they had found out, they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men."

And once again, the disciples were given a proof of his love, of his care for them, of the utter trust that they could have in their Savior. It wasn't the last they would need. Hours later, Peter would be told to walk across the water, and would do so... until he sunk in doubt of his Maker. But again, the Lord raised him up, proving that His grace was sufficient for him.

And no matter how often we doubt him, how many times we are given a clear sign that he knows all and he knows best, how often we lose trust, he holds us in his hand, as well. He is patient with his children. And we can trust him, even when the way he is going to work in may not be seen by us.

It will be a never ending lesson. But the Lord is patient towards us.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 12/03/15

~How Mama and Daddy use our Christmas decorations to point to Christ :).
~Sitting in the living room enjoying being with my family.
~And cooking in the kitchen laughing with them :).
~A clean oven (I don’t know what happened during Thanksgiving baking, but it became obvious it needed done before we cooked again, hahaha… it was a bit smoky in the kitchen… haha!).
~Leftovers ;).
~Rags to clean with.
~Planning out Christmas surprises :)!
~Cute baskets :).
~The anticipation we have of Christ’s second coming, as we look back to his first coming! Do any of the rest of you celebrate Advent :)?
~Encouraging and edifying relationships with other believers.
~That nothing -nothing!- can separate us from the love of God!!!! How wonderful!!!!
~For the way that the Lord uses others to build us up.
~For the many reminders that the Lord has given us to praise Him! We have so much to praise him for throughout the entire year… “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Blessings all ours, with ten thousands besides!”
~For this quote I found on the above verses… “Observe what God has done for us, on which our hopes are built: He spared not his own Son. When he was to undertake our salvation, the Father was willing to part with him, did not think him too precious a gift to bestow for the salvation of poor souls; now we may know that he loves us, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his own Son, his only Son.”
~This Christmas season and all the excitement and planning and joy and additional reflection on Christ’s gift of His life to us that it will hold :).
~Watching Josiah delighting over a picture book about a mouse. He is sooo sweet!
~Getting to read through the New Testament with an awesome group of dear friends :).
~The prophecies that have been fulfilled.
~And the promises we can trust him to keep :).
~Pinecones and red berries :). Literally my favorite Christmas decorations set against greenery, heehee :).
Bri :)