Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Act of Thankfulness

When deciding what to write for my "Thanksgiving post", immediately I, of course, started thinking about the list of things I'm thankful for in my life. I realized that I could probably sit here all day and add line after line of those things. But then I started thinking that while it's very important to think specifically about everything we're thankful FOR and speak it to God, and in fact God tells us to do this in His word (In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:18) this Thanksgiving I wanted to reflect on the things that I can do to SHOW my thankfulness to my God. Because giving thanks isn't just about saying the words, but about acting it out in our lives...everyday. It's in how we speak to others in kindness, how we show them we love them in the way we know they need it (even when it's not returned), our attitude when faced with challenges and trials, serving others, serving our church, showing grace, being good stewards of what we've been given, and countless other ways. We tell our kids all the time that a change of attitude is not just on your face, it has to be a change of heart attitude, and the same goes for us. So...Lord, let me not just speak thanks and show it on my face, but believe it in my heart and actively LIVE IT.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.." Hebrews 12:28

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Psalm 28:7

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His loving kindness is everlasting." Psalm 107:1

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders." 1 Chron. 16:8,9

All that being said...:)

I'll leave you with one of the many things I'm incredibly grateful for!

God's provision.

At a time in our lives when we're not sure how we'll buy groceries from week to week, God has used many separate situations to provide for us in this way...and we're SO undeserving and humbled. Now it's our turn to show Him our thanks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Down by the seashore...

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to get away to the beach. It was truly a God send. We had paid for this week-long vacation a few months before our move back to the valley. At the time, having no clue that it was something that would have never been possible had we needed to pay for it now. It was a wonderful week of relaxing, swimming in the pool (every day!), playing games, coloring, looking at lighthouses, hanging out with friends, seeing the Oregon Coast Aquarium, MO'S, a little shopping (mostly window), watching it storm, and playing on the beach.
The first few days our long-time friends the Braatens joined us...since traditionally we take a fall coast trip with them. It was great to get this quality-time-fix with their family! And, as usual, made some memories and have some more stories to tell...

Without further's the mother load of pictures!

I especially loved the couple...who ever they were.

Morning play time.

Aspen "blowing"

Lots of chase, tickling, and kissing.:) The Aquarium

The ugliest fish I've ever seen.

Touching little sharks. Lincoln with the spider crabs...they could probably swallow him whole.
The jellies.
Touching more "stuff".

"Hey Aspen, isn't this aquarium bench awesome?!"

Looking at the sea otters...

...and the sea lions.

Always posing.

Laying on the water and looking at the fishes. Yeah the floor creaked and it was a little freaky.

A really big fish eye.

A shark swimming above us, around us, below us. And yes, that's blood.
Picture and hat troubles.
Ha Ha Billy!
And Kelly...sleeping.

Dental Floss Glasses. It's the new cool.The view from our room.

The rest of the time.

Billy, you're interfering with my shot.

Kickin' back.

FINALLY, our last day there the weather permitted beach time. Perfect weather: no wind, pretty warm. Just wish we had all day.

Will LOVED it. We weren't down there more than a minute before he was doing this:

...and this...

...and this.

Emma's mission: to find pretty seashells. ...and other weird stuff.

Lincoln's 1st time at the beach!!!

We actually have almost the identical picture of Will: similar pose and exact coat and hat!

Newport in black and white. My feeble attempts:)

Is there some law against posts this long??? I think it's my record. I'll try to keep them a little shorter from now on....maybe.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Lately, I've been evaluating A LOT of things in my life...
One of which is relationships and my role in them. Because we are all sinners, this area of friendship/relationship will never be perfected here on THIS earth. And that makes me sad. What I can do is continue to look at the ultimate example in this...Jesus. Just like everyone I've been "let-down" and my heart has been deeply hurt. There have also been times when I have had to ask for forgiveness from another. We've all heard this word before -"expectations". And so much of hurt in relationships is from un-met expectations. And while we know this is why we are, not always, but often hurt in relationships, it's so hard to not to let those feelings come through.

I came across the following post on a new site I found, and it was a good reminder for me, so maybe it will be for you too. One that I need to remember in dealing with friends, family, and those hard-to-love-in-my-own-strength people in my life...

More than anything, keep loving each other actively;
because love covers many sins.
~ 1 Peter 4:8

Have you figured out yet that this life is all about relationships? The Relationship Expert Himself wrote an entire Book about the matter. The First Four Words of The Ten He gave us had to do with relating to Him…and the Last Six Words had to do with relating to everyone else! What I’m trying to say, folks, is that it matters to our LORD how we deal with people…yes, even ‘Sister Scouring Pad’ (the one known for her abrasive qualities).

We all have at least one relationship in need of His healing touch, don’t we? 1 Peter 3:8-12 describes a process of His sanctification in us through friction with others…’it is to this we have been called that we might receive a blessing’. We receive this blessing as we do things His way and give up the right to ourselves.

H.U.G.S. is surely one great way to deal with conflict. The definition of conflict is ‘to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; to clash’. Has this ever happened to you? John records these words from Jesus: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

We have tribulation because sin resides in every human heart. But let’s not kid ourselves - even if you or I were the only one on this earth, we’d still have our issues! Therefore, we can look at conflict as an event and H.U.G.S. as appropriate God-honoring, Christ-exalting responses to a brother or sister. Until the LORD comes back, His Spirit will be teaching us all about His blessed grace and giving us ample opportunity to grow in it and extend it to others.

What would our relationships look like if we dealt in the following manner with each other?

• H - Honestly (Proverbs 24:26; Romans 12:9-10)

• U - Understandingly (Proverbs 14:29; James 1:20)

• G - Graciously (Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 11:16; Ecclesiastes 10:12) AND finally…

• S - Simply (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 10:19; Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). This ahava (Hebrew: ‘love’) is the first attribute listed of the Spirit’s fruit because it is from ‘ahava’ that the remaining Kingdom fruit flows. Ahava, at its core, is a heavenly action displayed through an earthly vessel. It is His love flowing through us.

Because HUGS are a very SUPERnatural response, they are able to soften the edges of even the harshest Sister (yes, even Scouring Pad or Brillo Britches…whatever makes you laugh harder).

by Carmen Schroeder
Found here:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mighty To Save

"The Lord Your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus
~Hillsong United