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Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Birthday to You!

Hey there!
This is definitely a different post than normal, but today I'd like to wish those with February birthdays a very happy day!! :) I have several friends, including one brother, who turn another year young in February. It's fun to have times to celebrate, in a month with not a lot of holidays. (Or at least, not a lot for those of us who are single, lol! ;) 

I would specifically like to mention my sweet grandma, though I don't call her that, it sounds weird. ;) She has always been "Oma" to me, as long as I can remember. Today is her special day, and I am so, so thankful for her and her impact on my life!! She is a prayer warrior, constantly lifting up me and my siblings, my parents, and my extended family up in prayer. She cares about people more than almost anyone else I know. She can find out more about a person (AND REMEMBER IT!!) in five minutes, than I could in a week! Sometimes it will amaze me when we are walking through the mall together and she says, "Oh, that's ____...her son Bill's wife has been terribly sick, I wonder if she is any better!" And she has only met this person like two times. :D 

I am so thankful for her sweet spirit of thankfulness to The Lord, and for her encouragement to me, especially in the area of this blog. She has been 100% supportive of me since the very beginning of it. Thank you, Oma, I love you!! 

Secondly, I would like to wish Jenny a very happy birthday. I will finally be taking a trip up to her corner of the earth to visit this next week! Jenny is another friend who's been with me since the start of the blog, and is such a faithful reader and encourager... even when I feel like a certain post was awful, or poorly written, she never fails to leave a sweet comment with her thoughts on the subject! She loves to write, (I think she could totally write a book. Or two or ten.) and when she writes you a letter, it will be a real, old-fashioned, newsy, 3 page epistle! And I LOVE that!!! :) She is so much fun to be around, especially when she talks in an accent (which is pretty much all the time!), or pretends to be offended by my lack of vocabulariness. ;P I love dragging her into crazy adventures with me, and she usually comes along, under protest, but ends up having fun anyway. I think. ;)

So yeah! Today I just wanted to mention a couple of people specifically, because sometimes it's really fun to get a shoutout on your birfday! :) (Yes, I did mean to spell it that way.) For all of my February birthday friends, I hope you have an absolutely lovely day filled with wonderful memories and lots of ice cream!! :D And even if your birthday is in should still eat some ice cream because it's super yummy. ;P 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Lesson Learned From a Chocolate Kiss

Hey everyone!
It's a brand new week with new opportunities to serve The Lord! :) Today I'd like to share something small and funny that I experienced recently, that I think has good application to our lives. It's something I talk about a lot, but also needs to be talked about a lot, because we forget it. All the time. :(

So I had my two year old little sister in nursery today, and since we had a couple families missing, it was just me and her. As I sat on the floor listening to my dad's sermon over the small speaker, I noticed that I still had a small baggie of assorted Valentine's Day chocolates in my purse from a coworker. I got it out, and unwrapped a Hershey's kiss for Miriam. She was thrilled, (duh! ;), and popped the whole thing in her mouth. For a kid her size, a Hershey's kiss is a rather large mouthful, but she managed, only drooling a little bit. As she struggled to chew this enormous hunk of chocolate, she instantly started pointing at my purse and yelping, as much as she could yelp, that is, for more. I laughingly unwrapped a second chocolate, (the last one in the bag), and gave it to her when she was finished with the first one. Again, with her mouth literally stuffed to overflowing with chocolate, she starts screeching for more?! When I told her they were gone, (not that I would have given her more anyway!), she threw a fit. She got in trouble at this point. ;P 

Anyway, after the unpleasantness was done, I got to thinking; how many times do I do this to God? He fills my life to overflowing abundance with blessings. And sometimes, I literally ignore those in my eagerness to ask Him for more, and more and MORE things. How unfathomably stupid can I get?! My mouth is stuffed with chocolate, so I can't even scream, and I sit here hyperventilating in my attempts to throw a tantrum for more chocolate. Wow. How God puts up with me, I'll never understand. 

And yet He does.

Day after day, year after year, He still chooses to give me chocolate. How much chocolate do you take for granted?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things I Wish I’d Done Differently Before I Got Married: Guest Post!

Hello everyone!!
Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who are excited about it...for those of us who aren't so much, I wish you a very happy Day-before-sale-candy day. ;P Whether you are in a relationship or not, you could be at some point in your life, depending on what God has for you. Today I have a really awesome guest post from my good friend, Katie! She has been such a blessing to me during the time that I've known her. We even had our wisdom teeth out around the same time, so were able to commiserate with each other on our unfortunate aftermath. :'D Ahem. Anyway, here are some do's and dont's that she put together, and this list was a really convicting one for me at least! I hope you enjoy!

Things I Wish I’d Done Differently Before I Got Married

First of all, let me say that I’m by no means an expert on this! I’ve only been married 3 ½ years, and it doesn’t seem like even that long. I feel like I should have learned a whole lot more by now. But most of it, I wish I’d learned before I even got married! To be quite honest, if someone I knew back then who had been married a few years had tried to give me advice, I don’t know if I would have taken it. Because people like that were so old and weird ;) And who know more about how to live my life than myself, right? So, if you read through this thinking, “Oh brother, who does she think she is?” I completely understand your sentiment! The answer is: I’m someone who absolutely LOVES being married, and I hope that’s part of God’s plan for your life, and if I can say anything that will help you, I’m going to try! I truly don’t feel like I’m on a different level than you, so please let me speak to you as if we were close friends. :)


  •  Get caught up in daydreams

Crushes are dangerous things. You’re dreaming about a young man who is not yours and possibly never will be. Would you want to do that after you are married? I hope not! Then why do it now, when God already has someone picked out for you whose attention you don’t need to worry about getting?

Romantic books and movies sure don’t help you a whole lot. (And yes… I’m talking about Janette Oke, Anne of Green Gables, and The Sound of Music!) I have a younger friend who decided when she was 16 or so to stop reading any romantic fiction whatsoever, because she realized that she really had no reason to think so much about romance until God put it in her life. After a struggle, I followed her example, for the most part anyway! I’m so glad I did! I’m not saying that these things are bad, but first of all, ask yourself before God WHY it is you are reading them, and if there’s something else He wants you to spend your time on. Develop your skills and increase your knowledge so that when you are married, you will be more of a blessing to your husband!

  •  Obsess over your body

I’m going to be blunt here. Guys are not that picky. Take care of your body, obviously, as in maintain a healthy weight (which will be different for everyone). But do not stress over it, because a good man is not going to love you for your body, and you’ll probably be surprised by how beautiful the crazy guy actually thinks you are. A cheerful attitude, by the way, changes the way other people view you entirely!

  • Be selfish

The closer you get to someone, the more selfishness shows. You already know that, because most likely, you tend to be less generous and forgiving with your siblings than with your friends. Well, you’re going to be in a lot closer proximity to your husband, so ask God to enable you to curb that selfishness NOW.

  • Take your family for granted

I’m occasionally surprised when I remember times that I was just sick of my family before I got married, because now I think they’re awesome! I compare them with other people and think, 
wow, other people are weird! Or boring! I’m sure glad MY family’s not… HA, HA, HA. I now treasure each time I have the chance to be with my parents and siblings. If only I had done that before!

As I write this, my grandpa is in ICU, struggling for each breath. He probably doesn’t have long to live. Treasure your family. I don’t know for sure that he is saved. Make sure you are showing Christ to your family all the time with your life, and when you can, with your words. Remember when Jesus called Andrew to “follow me”? Andrew immediately went and shared the good news with his brother (John 1:41). I think that is a good principle to follow.

  • Make marriage your end goal 

Marriage should never be your end goal. (Think of how obsessed Mrs. Bennett is with it… hee hee.) Seriously though, if you do get married, you’re still just beginning. If you don’t, or if your husband dies before you, do you want to feel like a failure? Like you’re not a person because you aren’t married? Living for Christ should be your goal throughout your entire life. See next point…


  • Let Jesus be your all-in-all 

Living for Christ is the only way to be a true success in life. The way you do that is going to be different during different stages of your life. You will never know what God expects of you for the rest of your life all at once. He gives us basic principles to follow, of course, but you may not always know what He wants you to do an hour from now until He shows you. Be flexible. Pray without ceasing, and thank Him in and for everything. Never forget that He is the one who makes you complete… not your husband or anyone or anything else. 

  •  Be modest. Always. 

I think it’s safe to say that if men commit adultery in God’s eyes by lusting after a woman, women commit adultery in God’s eyes if they deliberately dress in a way meant to get any man’s attention (even if it’s just by being “cute”... be careful with that, too. Things we think are “cute” may be immodest without us knowing it). I happen to be married to a very honest man who says that even a brief accidental glance at a woman in a tank top can be a stumbling block to men. And as my dad says, “Even a good dog will bite if you pull his tail enough.” If you’re not sure whether your attire is modest, ask your dad, or if you’re not comfortable asking him, ask a married lady you trust to give you an honest answer based on what she knows about her husband. It’s probably best not to ask your unmarried girl friends like I did before I was married… only to have my very honest future husband ask me not to wear a certain shirt. (Hint: If your brother ever says “I can see what you had for breakfast through that shirt”… um, find something else to wear before you head out in public.)

  • Enjoy homemaking 

Even if you don’t end up getting married, you’re still probably going to be a homemaker! And most likely, you’ll still end up watching and teaching little kids, too (“train up a child” is not just for parents; all of us train children by our example). Learn to enjoy it and do it “as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3:23)

  •    Practice patience now- not later! 

Don’t procrastinate on being patient ;) It’s like anything else… if you don’t make a habit of it, it won’t come automatically. I find it interesting that in I Corinthians 13, the first way that Paul defines love is “Charity suffereth long.” Oh, boy. Sometimes I get impatient with people for being “too patient” with other people! Fail.

  •  Expect to be surprised! 

Like… you’re even going to be surprised by what you’re surprised by! The man you marry will not be exactly who you expected to marry. He will have different expectations of you than you thought you knew he would! No matter how well you know your fiancĂ©, you’re going to quickly find out things about each other that you never thought to discuss before you got married J Make sure you agree on the big things. Make sure you are seeking God together and individually on ALL things. But there’s still going to be silly little things that completely baffle you about each other!

For those of you who are married- isn’t it great? :) I pray your love “never grows old”! My husband and I occasionally have people tell us, “Oh, you’re still in the honeymoon stage. Sooner or later you’ll want to take a break from each other.” Thank goodness, we haven’t had that happen yet! You’ve all heard people talk about the “ups and downs” of marriage. Maybe that is the way it is for most couples, but I completely, 100%, without a doubt believe that that’s not how it’s supposed to be! Yes, you’re going to go through the struggles of life together. You’re not going to agree on everything. That’s why God made a chain of command for us- God is your husband’s authority, and your husband is yours (unless your husband is asking you to sin, of course.) There is a verse I have to remind myself of all the time- “Only by pride cometh contention” (Proverbs 13:10). So, if you’re having “communication problems”, ask yourself if you are being prideful in not submitting to God or your husband in an area of your life. He’ll usually show you something!! (This goes for all of you!)

Thank you so much to Katie for sharing these thoughts! By the way, Katie's sister is Jenny, who leaves great comments all the time on this blog...I have yet to ask her for a guest post, but it's coming! ;) Even if I have to resort to unsavory measures. ;) I hope you all have a lovely day and week! Keep your heart focused on the things of God! <3

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Little Things (And why I'm thankful for them)

Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

I'm sure many of you have heard the phrase, "Enjoy the little things", or "It's the little things in life that count", etc.? Most of the time, these sayings are used by those who do not have a relationship with God, so really all they do is enjoy them. (For a short time.) We as Christians should be not only enjoying those little things, but also thanking the One who gave them to us! So these are good statements, they just have to be in the right context. :) 

So I know that nothing God does for us is truly "little"...he loads us down with His benefits. However, there are some things in life that you can't help but smile at--because that thing that happened was not necessary. Maybe it was even something tiny and simple, a ray of sunshine that suddenly flashed through your day. Maybe you couldn't find something for the life of you, and suddenly you found it in the unlikeliest place. Well, you could call that coincidence, but really think about it. I truly believe that so many things we chalk up to "chance" is God showering yet another blessing onto that day's pile...and we don't even give Him credit for it. That's really sad!! When a friend drops by with a plate of cookies, or a passing stranger helps pick up some dropped papers, do we neglect to thank them? Of course not! And yet how many times do we ignore the little gifts God gives us, with the assumption that it was just a random happenstance? :( 

Last year, shortly after I first started this blog, I published a post entitled, "The Story of the Toy Firetruck, (and why it meant so much to me)". You can read it here. In the spirit of that post, I would like to just take a minute to thank The Lord for a few of the "little things" He's given me lately. :)

  • A few days ago I was in a hurry, and rushed out the door to work without grabbing something to eat for lunch. It wasn't a crazy long shift, (5 or 6 hours, I think), but long enough that I would probably have to either mooch something from a coworker, (haha!) or go out. 1 hour into my shift, a guy from a local sub sandwich delivery place shows up at the front desk. He cheerfully says, "Hey, I have some free sample sandwiches for all the staff here, would you like one?" Umm. Yes. ;) So I got a free "sample" sandwich, (it was about 5 inches long, so a totally fine size for a small lunch!), and didn't have to go out in the snowy weather. Thank you, Lord!
  • I recently purchased some pajamas that are soooo soft, I seriously look forward to getting into them when I get home from work, etc. They feel like clouds. :) My mom really wanted some as well, so last week I ran to the store where I got mine, to try and find her some as a surprise. Well, they were out. As was another store of a similar kind. I had just about given up hope, (and was out of time to look), when I thought of checking this random store in the mall, because I vaguely remembered something about them having pj's at some point. You guessed it! They not only had them, but they were on end-of-winter sale for FIVE BUCKS. Thank you again, Lord!!! :)
I could go on and on. Like I said, these are not life changing things! Would I have died of starvation without a sandwich? Of course not. Would my mom have perished without those cozy pajamas? Nope. But God still chose to let me have those little, fun blessings, because He loves me! And I think that is so special, that God cares about giving good gifts to His children, even when we are naughty wandering little sheep that won't quit falling into mud puddles, wandering off the path into thornbushes and pits, and becoming so focused on ourselves that we can't even take a second to thank the kind Shepherd who leads us! Today, I'm challenging you, as well as myself, to look for those little things. Notice when they happen, and don't just ignore them...praise The Lord for them! I'm not saying we should fall on our knees wherever we are and burst into the Hallelujah chorus. But just say thank you. That's all. :) Love,

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fun Post: January Favorites

I can't believe the first month of 2017 is already over. It feels like we just had New Year's!? Crazy how time flies. ;) Anyway, in January I've been:

Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. I love this author, but for some reason had never got around to this book. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as some of her other books, but I do really love the descriptive way in which she writes. I would definitely read it again! :)
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. This series is kind of an old favorite of mine. While I don't love everything about either of these authors, their books were a big part of my childhood, and rereading them really takes me back. :)
I know I've been reading other books this past month as well, but I'm totally blanking out on what right now, and for various and sundry reasons I can't actually check my bookshelf, either physical or my library checkout history. Yeah, anyway. ;P

100% white grapefruit juice. I think it's Welch's brand, but anyway, Grocery Outlet has the little cans for 25 cents each. They are such a nice, refreshing pick-me-up for so little money!! :) Also, the sparkling Lemon Bai drinks are amazing. So yummy.

A LOT of racquetball. As in, nearly every single day of the week, I've been going to the gym with a couple family members to play. It is WAY too much fun to be such amazing exercise!! I really enjoy it, even though both my parents are still skunking me every time. ;P We have never had a gym membership before this, and I've really been enjoying the ability to go early and work out before anyone is up. Also, the variety of machines, etc., helps to keep me motivated. As does the accountability from my family. ;)

Looking for...
An alto saxophone. If anyone knows of one, on Craigslist or wherever, for a good price, let me know. I'm trying to make good on my goal of learning a new instrument this year, and I really, really love the sax. :)

Visiting with...
Some friends from Oak Harbor, (where my home church is), who came over for a youth retreat. We've had a blast while they have been here. Playing signs and Never Have I Ever (which I had never played before. Heh. Heh. ;), having devotions and outreach together, and enjoying the snow here. (They don't get much snow over there. Actually pretty much all they ever see is rain. Ever. ;P) 

My very first piano lesson ever!! A family in my church is generously making a way for me to take lessons from an amazing teacher, free of charge. What a huge blessing!!! :) I am so excited to be taking piano lessons, finally! (And I had specifically prayed about that, around a week before I randomly get this call about "Do I want to take these piano lessons off their hands". God answers prayer, people. :)

This tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant a couple towns over. I took my parents out to breakfast there after hearing amazing things about the place online...well, the reviews were not lying. At all. The guy is a 5-star chef, (literally, he got sick of the rat race at his 5 star restaurant and decided to "run away" by starting over in a tiny little town with one stoplight.) Anyway, my mom and I decided to split a plate. When it came, it was about the size of a serving platter for a family of four. At LEAST. We both stuffed ourselves, took a box home, and fed all four of my youngest siblings breakfast!! Unbelievable taste and portion sizes. ;) I seriously think you could take 6 adults to this place and get 2 plates. :O It's called Take-a-Break cafe in Dryden, Washington. Try it out if you are ever here, but don't go without me, please! ;P

Listening to...
A lot of music from this album from the Galkins. So, so pretty. <3

The blizzard we've had today. (6+ inches just today, with up to another foot and a half or something by Wednesday?!) My memory foam pillow. Chocolate chip cookie dough. String cheese, melted. Quotes by Corrie Ten Boom. My homemade toothpaste and face scrub. Hanging out with friends. Playing games with my family. Getting my hair cut short(ish). Kebron's impression of Pigeon Toady from Storks. ;P Chatting with Kimberly. The new website they are launching at work. My new piano arrangement book from James Koerts, my favorite hymn arranger. 

That's a wrap for brain is too tired to contemplate anymore. ;) What have been some of your favorite parts of January? Are you holding up on your New Year goals? :) Have a great week!! Love,

Friday, February 3, 2017

What Does God Think of Us?

Psalm 103:12-14 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

I wish I had some good, clever, or valid excuse as to why I haven't posted anything in the last two weeks, but all I can say is two words. Writer's block. You thought that was just for novelists or people who write all day every day? Yeah, well, it's not. ;P I've had it for a little while now, so bear with me. :)

I was reading these verses the other night, and thinking about them in a new way. As far as the east is from the far exactly is that? Well, as my littlest brothers are very fond of saying: "It's infinity far!!" You can go east for ever and ever, without ever coming to a point where you are going west, and vice versa! That's a pretty long way. And that's how far He removed our sins from us when we came to Him through Christ for salvation! They can never be retrieved. We can never again be blamed for them because they are under the blood of Christ.

A lot of people have a completely twisted idea of God. They have this thinking that God is some kind of dictator sitting in heaven just waiting anxiously for us to mess up, so He can punish us for our sin. Nothing in this world could be farther from the truth! For those of us who are saved, we are the children of God. You are His child. If you are striving with all your heart to walk in His ways, living in the fear of The Lord, and trusting Him to guide you into the path of truth, God is not just waiting to blast you into a cinder!! He pities, supports, loves, and upholds you. He knows the weakness of your flesh, the struggles you face, the temptations that at times seem overwhelming...because he went through all of that too. Hebrews 2:18 says, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." What an encouraging thing to realize--that God knows what we're going through!

Please note: With this being said, I am not in any way downplaying the justice or holiness of God. Yes, God loves and pities us, but He is also perfect in righteousness and does not take sin lightly. Neither should we. Just wanted to make that clear.

In all the many distractions swirling through our lives, please let's not lose sight of the fact that God wants to have sweet fellowship with us. Would you go entire weeks or months, (or even days!), without ever communicating in any way with your very best friend? Think about that. No texts, no calls, no sending them a fun pin or post you found. Nothing. For most of us, that sounds terrible, because we love our friends and family, and want to communicate and spend time with them! So why should it be ANY different with the One who saved us from spiritual death, promised us life eternal with Him, carries us safely through each day, showers us with constant, moment-by-moment blessings...the list goes on! How can we "not have time" for God?! Let's just step back a bit more, and walk with Him. Go to a quiet place alone, and sit down with your Bible and a notebook, and just be still. No phone, no distractions, just communication with The Lord. (Aren't you glad you can talk to Him instantaneously, no technology needed? ;) I guarantee you that no moment spent at The Saviour's feet will be wasted. Have a wonderful weekend! Love,