Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 05/28/15

This week my blessings have included...

~A special outing with Mama earlier this week :).
~A blessed smoothness in geometry. Algebra has been a pain lately, so opening the next math book and finding something more understandable made me the most excited I have ever been about math, haha!
~The little girls telling me all about the trip to the library they got to take with Mommy. They brought back a lot of *pink* books, it was hilarious!
~"Mildred at Roselands", by Martha Finley.
~Tori's delight over her new sketchbook. Annnnd, it's already started its long career of public life on her blog Sketching Dreams, haha!
~An old, sturdy, metal sewing machine from our neighbor :)!
~My new adorable owl cup :).
~Psalm 51 :).
~Josiah's fascination with the optic wands "somebody" left in a bag hanging on our door. Yes, I had to look up what they were called. And yes, I find them rather intriguing myself.
~Getting to chat with my Aunt this past week :)!
~Tori's finally finding a book she had been looking for! Libraries and bookstores do not sell many classics it seems :P...
~Designs. You know, like when someone takes random circles and swirls of color and makes something gorgeous out of it... haha. That may be one of my favorite forms of artwork...
~The lavender colored dry erase board Mama got for our room :). It's something I had actually been thinking about getting/making, although I hadn't mentioned it to her yet! That was a fun little surprise :).
Rejoicing in hope,
Bri :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

While I was a Sinner

I really appreciate people who are open... who share something they have struggled with, and offer the scriptures and teachings and circumstances that gave them the victory over their sin for the glory of God.

But I don't feel that I'm very good at sharing those things myself. I don't like sharing struggles that others were included in, because I don't want it to sound like I am complaining about the people involved. But on the flip side, if I feel like I am the only person who sinned in the situation, I have an even harder time opening up, because I know that I can be the only one held accountable.

And I hate to disappoint others. I hate to admit impatience to someone who has just told me they were impressed with how patient I was in that situation When someone tells me that my relationship with my siblings is encouraging to them, I think of how I used to egg Tori into an argument, and how even now, me and a certain sibling can get into a disagreement multiple times a day. I am too proud to admit to people that I'm really not as humble as some seem think.

I share a lot on this blog. I share all the completed projects, all the ministries, all the coffee, all the laughs, and all the things that I've found to be a blessing, that I have time for. I've even -a couple of times- shared a few things that the Lord had convicted me about. But I don't often share how there are days where all I've done all day is browse facebook and pinterest. How far behind I can get in my duties, and how often I "shorten" my bible time because I've wasted time that I could have used in that pursuit.

Sometimes, the things that I share... they are the truth. But they are also only part of the truth.

Last week found me in the kitchen crying, basically telling Daddy that I didn't feel like people knew the real me. I had been struggling for a couple weeks. Not badly, at first, but before I realized it, it was totally consuming my thoughts. I had been finding myself very impatient, and selfish, and distrustful (of others intentions and, worse of some of the things God had put in my life). Mostly in my thoughts, but it was spilling out more and more into my actions. And the more I realized these sins, the more it made me feel guilty to hear others saying that I had done such and such good. But I still couldn't bring myself to humbly admit that  I am still simply a human sinner, though a human sinner covered by grace I may be.

Because that is what everyone of us is. "None is righteous, no, not one". Ever since Eve ate the fruit of the tree of good and evil, we have all been born with a natural bend for sin. (Romans 5:12) It's what's easy. It's what seems fun to our flesh. It effects everything around us.


God sent His Son to die on the cross for us. Because of his gift of righteousness -taking our sin on him and giving us, in its place, HIS righteousness- because of that double imputation, we don't have to be known by our sin. "He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." Christ shines through us. We are to live in the world. And that means that everything we do will be stained by sin. Even our best works are as dirty rags.


Once he has called us his own, our sin is not what defines us. Oh, it's still there. Even Paul admitted,  "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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". We are no longer of this world, and to the praise and glory of God, once Christ fills us with His light, He is our identity. Not our past sins. Not even our current sins. But His grace.

This doesn't mean that we go on sinning because he paid for all. Out of our thankfulness to and love for Christ, we are to, with his merciful help, live in the way he has called us. But not to earn our salvation. We can never do enough to earn salvation, because only one "small" sin is all it takes to outweigh all good. Martin Luther, the "Father of the Reformation", was led to believe that he had to earn his salvation, and he used to literally "beat his body into submission" with whips and chains to pay for his sins. It was not until God showed him that faith is a gift by grace, not works, that he understood that no amount of sorrow or pain would pay for his sins, but only acceptance of the sacrifice of God. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

But that sorrow over sin IS there for a reason. After I shared with my parents my struggle with all the sin I was seeing in my life, and how it was weighing me down so severely, Mama pulled up this sermon by Voddie Baucham to listen to. And he makes soooo many good points. But my favorite may have been that, if we could not recognize, remember, feel remorse for, and abhor our sin... how could we truly understand what God has saved us from? 'I am not what I should be... but, thank God, I know I am not what I was.'

I'm not perfect. I don't want to even pretend that I am. I can't promise I will find it any easier to share my short fallings on this blog. But I want to remind each of you that any good you see -any encouragement you get- any way my writings are used- is simply God working through a sinful human, whom he has redeemed for no other purpose than that it magnifies his glory. That while I am yet a sinner, he loves me.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thankful (Saturday), 05/23/15

~Our bedroom walls all nicely yellow again... haha. For a while now we have had little "snowflakes" in our room where Mama patched up the nail holes, because out of the four buckets of yellow paint in the garage, none of them were for our room, so Daddy had to take a paint chip in to get a new can, haha :). 
~Some furniture and a lawnmower gifted to us by one of daddy's employees.
~The "Anne of Green Gables" series :).
~Emmi's delight in her "comfiest, prettiest blanket ever". Spontaneously bursted forth as she wrapped herself in the blanket that she's had for six months now. Heehee :).
~Rain on the window panes :).
~Joni Earekson Tada's ministry. She is such a neat lady!
~Peanut butter.
~Josiah's widdle baby voice saying "Please" <3.
~All the sweet sunglass wearing faces that have been running around here lately :).
~The Mama bird that was out in our back yard this morning patiently teaching her little one (or two... I couldn't quite tell if I was seeing two different ones, or if it was just moving when my back was turned, haha!) to fly... I'm 99% sure it  was the one on the back of the house I mentioned a while back, I was thrilled they made it, given the past record around our house for bird's nests :P...
~The smell of banana bread all ready for breakfast tomorrow.
~All the many uses for quilling... I have had so much fun the past month, haha :)! And may be neglecting some of the crocheting projects I had already started, lol...
~Josiah "leading" the rocking horse that our neighbor gifted him with all around the house... he looks like a professional horse wrangler, haha!
~Bethi finding her plant bulbs she thought she'd lost, haha. She is so excited about putting in her own small garden :). She's been getting all her pots ready (customized...  fun :)!), and I can't wait to watch them come up :).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday 05/14/15

There have been so many blessings I have been given in the past week! I'm going to be honest here and say that I have not appreciated them as much as I should have... quite frankly, I have been kind of a grouch. But the Lord is so good to us, giving us even what we don't deserve, and as I look back at the past week, these are a few of those things I can be very grateful for...

~ That Peter can say cocoa. That might sound strange, but the boy was so excited about it, I had to join him in thinking it was awesome, haha. I was making breakfast a few mornings ago while talking to Tori, and he comes running into the kitchen, "Bri! Tori! I can say cocoa!!!!", haha :).
~Being able to have daily bible time!
~Mommy :)! Happy late Mother's day, Mama :)!
~Turtle pie... more specifically, Emmi's utter joy at getting to try it, heehee :). She was SOOOO excited!
~All the moments that bring laughter in our house... such as this one on Sunday...
While I was fixing Emmi's hair, I told her that she and Abbi needed to leave our box of hair ties/clips alone... she answered, "I haven't touched it!"
"Since when, 2015?", I asked sneakily... to which she replied, wholeheartedly, "YES!"
Tori heard, and said, "Ummm... Emmi. It IS 2015!"... heehee!
~The way Mama always steps in when she hears that someone needs "loved with food" :).
~Little girls who let me braid their hair :). (And not so little girls... Tori is more complying then she used to be! Still working on Bethi....)
~Snuggles with my "kitty cat" Peter... seriously, he woke up the other day and came and stood in the living room doorway until I noticed. I turned around to tell him good morning, went back to reading my book, and the next thing I know, he's crawling under my elbow, haha... I asked, "How did you know I wanted a kitty on my lap?", and he answered, "Because"... lol! He didn't even skip a beat when I called him a cat, Tori has let me know that I may have done it once too often, heehee...  But he's so KITTYlike, I can't help it! Haha...
~Singing along to hymns :). I've had this one running through my mind all evening...

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

~"Great is Thy Faithfulness"by Thomas O. Chisholm

~Making more donuts with the little ones... not quite so many this time. Haha! They go a lot quicker when they're not a hundred-something batch ;)....
~A trip to see a dear lady from our church and her daughter this afternoon. They have been such a blessing to us <3. and then on the way home we did some geocaching, which was quite humorous... it took us way longer to find the coordinates than to find the caches, haha!
~That our salvation does not rest on our own goodness. Praise God for his free gift!
~Geodes :). I was reading about them in my science book recently, and it reminded me of the afternoon several years back that we broke open some geodes that my Grandma had bought us :).
~That God continues to give us gifts even when we neglect to give him our praise for them.
~The way Josiah loves to play peek-a-boo :).
~Each day the Lord has given us to live for him, and each night that he gives to refresh us. With that, I'm off to bed!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thankful Thursday 05/07/15

Some of the things that I have to be thankful for this week are...
~Bethi, who, as you know, turned 10 this past week :)!
~The next Hidden Treasures auction that is coming up this July! This one will help Mikah, one of the older children who was recently taken to the group home that was opened by some of the former orphanage staff, the same staff that was removed from the orphanage after the investigation was done. This boy needs help to get out of there as fast as he can before they can do any more damage to him! And, while I'm talking about the auctions, if you think about it, could you say a prayer for the auction coordinator? One of their children, adopted from Pleven, passed away last month from brain damage that had gone untreated for too long to be fixed after they got him home  :(. It is so sad, and they could definitely use the prayers!
~Creative people who want to use the gifts that God has given them to help others.... one of whom is my friend Charlotte, who is working on a non-profit project called "Sixth Sense" to help the blind. She has entered a contest that will help with funds, and if you would like to read about this project, and maybe vote for her, you could do so here :)!
~Balloons. More specifically the fact that Josiah loves to toddle around with balloons. Not so much the, 12:30 at night I'm woken up by a bumping and see a bouncing object, freak out because I think there is a cat in my room, kind of balloons. Yes, my brain is strange when it's 3/4 asleep....
~Finally setting up a facebook page for my blog, which has been on my to-do list for several months (yes, I'm not very good at getting around to that to-do list). Sooooo, if you have a facebook account, and might enjoy updates from this blog even a teensy little bit, you could like the page here :).
~The little bird that has been visiting the deck railing right outside our kitchen window every afternoon this week. I am almost positive that it is the same one that has also built a nest in one of the corners between out gutter pipes and the house. I'm hoping this one doesn't get blown like the one last year did...
~People who share with others the ways that they do their devotions. I love gleaning ideas. I was inspired to set up a prayer "journal" (except mine is made up of loose cards :) ) this week :).
~Finally finding an easy way to curl Tori's hair :)! Though I'm sure the flat iron will still be called into service for special occasions, it's nice to have a faster technique for everyday :).
~Paint to patch up the the spots in our room!
~How snuggle-bug-y Josiah has been the past few days! Although I think it's because he doesn't feel well. Of course. Why is that?! Haha :).
~AND, watching him feed himself with a fork for the first time the other day :)! (The day we actually celebrated Bethi's birthday. It's kind of mandatory for one of us to hit a milestone while we are celebrating one of our siblings birthdays...).
Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bethi has reached the Double Digits :)!

Bethi-boo turned ten years old today :)!!! Though Daddy couldn't work his schedule out to be home all day, he was home this morning, and we enjoyed a special breakfast. Now Mama is taking her on a fun outing, and we'll do some more celebrating in a few days :).

The birthday girl in the kitchen this morning! For her breakfast, Bethi wanted homemade maple glazed donuts. Mama has talked for years about some donuts she used to love when she was little, but hasn't seen in years. My Aunt heard her talking about them, told her that these tasted just like them, and very sweetly made her some, with the help of Bethi and Andrew a while back. When Bethi was deciding what she wanted to have for breakfast, she thought these would be the perfect choice, and wanted to be able to help make them :). So, make them we did, and come out with about 3 and 1/2 times as many donuts as the recipe said we should?... Haha! We baked them in this cake pop maker that my Gramma gave us a couple years ago, it said it could be used for donuts holes as well, so we gave it a try. It worked perfectly :)!

 We had lots of helpers, and LOTS of donuts, haha! We never would have bought that many at one time, haha. Two batches many have been more than enough...

Peter's face says it all, haha. I may or may not have been experimenting up until like the last dozen as I baked them... haha. The little ones loved eating the "fishtails" off the donuts, haha... I kept overfilling the iron, and they thought the rings that resulted around the donutholes, looked like fishtails for some strange reason, haha. But I think it went rather well, and we had a great time together :). I would say Bethi's breakfast choice was a hit all around :).

Bethi is often attempting to take on big projects like these, and loves to do it with lots of people. Watching her in the kitchen as she stays relatively calm with multiple siblings younger than her around her, while letting them help her with something she herself has never done, is very inspiring to me, actually, haha :). I often find myself very impatient in like situations, but she handles it like a pro! She loves gardening and writing (one of her milestones for this past year was the launching of her own blog, "Gratefully His"!), and she loves to straighten the attic and the garage with Andrew during their free time! She has been diligently studying her bible lately, and it has been sweet to hear some of her insights into what she has read :). She can be blunt and goofy, but also loves to help those around her when she notices a need. I love you, Bethi :). Happy birthday!!!!!