Saturday, November 28, 2015

On Being Thankful

This year, DH had Saturday through Thanksgiving Day off from work (yay!), and we had a great time. Glen and I squeezed in a dinner and movie date, then we all went to the Tanger Outlets in PA and got some great pre-maddess (aka Black Friday) deals. Our dinner was at home, just the five of us relaxing together.

Hear is a pictorial review of our last few months....

Daisy had ANOTHER surgery...this was to fix her right cruciate tear (her left one tore last fall). We prayed for her and we are so thankful that God cares about everything, even our pets. Last time she had the surgery she bawled for 7 hrs (no joke), because her pain tolerance is nil. This time she hardly whined at all. It obviously hurt, but she didn't have the distress that she did last time. She'll hopefully be back to a regular walk schedule with us this coming Monday!

The time change has made it easier for us to get up earlier, so we've witnessed some beautiful sunrises! 

Our big guy played football this year for the first time since flag (when he was 6 yrs old, I think). He's a big 12 yr old now (#40). The FOP Colts went to the local Championship game undefeated.

The Championship game was played in Buckhannon against Bridgeport. They were a little certain of victory, but...

FOP beat them (20-16) for the first time in around 10 yrs! Disappointing that the Times West Virginian didn't say more about the midgets victory...but they were completely undefeated for the whole season!

Below is the team with their trophy (our guy is the one standing on the left wearing a plain blue shirt). I was reluctant about Iain playing football (and he did have a tackle that took a small chip out of his left kneecap), but the camaraderie that he developed with his teammates was great for him. I am thankful for that, and for his injury not being worse.

Deer are thick in our area, and we've fought them over our garden for years now. Even so, we've been blessed to drive back and forth to work and miss them...until a few weeks ago.

Glen was coming home from work around 9:15 pm, the night of a windy storm. A big buck leaped out in front of him and he hardly had time to hit his brakes. It did almost $6,000 worth of damage, but the airbag didn't go off. That's a blessing because he was by the river, and only God knows what might have happened if it went off. I am thankful that no other cars were around, that he wasn't hurt, and also very thankful that we have insurance that covers the repairs!

I believe that all things work together for good, and that includes the things that are painful or difficult. I read recently, in Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts Devotional,

"It's only in the uncomfortable places that we can experience the tenderness of the Comforter," (p.188).
It never really occurred to me to think about the title that the Holy Spirit is given--The Comforter, our Comforter--and that we need comfort when we are uncomfortable. And that gives me a whole new perspective on being uncomfortable, knowing it is a place where God's comfort is near.

So, we were uncomfortable about our Element being crunched and how it won't ever really be the same, even after it is fixed. (Yes, we were whining...). But on the day when we picked up the (very small) rental car that made Glen look like Mr. Incredible and he went on to work, I drove through Wilson Ford's parking lot to get back on Rt 250 and this beauty was sitting on the corner of the used car lot:

(And, yes, it is now sitting in our driveway. :) )

When the Jeep Commanders first came out, I fell in love with them. I like that boxy look, and anyone who knows me will know that my favorite color is red. And, I hate tan interior (this one is a grayish taupe). This is a 2009 model with average mileage, and it has a bunch of bells and whistles, such as the remote starter that the dealer rep showed me how to use when I took it home (I was cracking up, since I didn't even know it had that!). To make this even sweeter, we got it for $3,000 less than the current book value!

Speaking of sweet, Sara and I tried a couple of new recipes. (She has been my baking buddy since she was big enough to sit on the counter. :)

Apple roses


And crescent roll cheese danishes 

 I also made some Focaccia, which was a Family Fun recipe from several years ago that I'd never made. It was quite yummy.

Today I am finishing my Christmas decorating (better known as kicking a path through the house to make room for our tree, haha). This is my new holiday bedding. It's red--shocking! :)

I pray that you and those that you love have a wonderful holiday season, no matter what you are going through.

It is much easier to grumble and complain, and to see what is wrong (especially with all the terror in the world today). It takes effort to look for the positive side of everything, but it is one thing that is well worth the effort.

"God is our refuge and strength, 
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Selah," (Psalm 46:1-3, NASB).

If you are hurting, may this hymn help you to find peace. Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Psalm 148

Click here to watch the video, if you can't see it in your email.
Or use this link: 

Psalm 148  (NASB)

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rare Bird {a book review}

"Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they are efface altogether my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?" ~Oswald Chambers (10/3), My Utmost for His Highest
Anna Whiston-Donaldson has written an honest, raw account of her twelve-year-old son, Jack's, death. As hard as it is to read, it is refreshing to read a book that tells about loss, and the confusing, angry feelings that come with it.

Anna writes of how her God was too small for the pain she had -- a "God of rules and committee meetings and sermon notes and praise music" (pg 2). Having grown up in church, in a stable loving family, and losing her mother when Anna was eighteen, she wasn't a stranger to being shocked by grief. But she was not prepared for how much losing Jack would change their lives.

And who could be? How can you go from enjoying (or grumbling) about your child and the funny things he does (or messes he makes), to putting him in the ground?

I saw this book recommended on a blog I read, but I didn't buy it. My own son is twelve, and it wasn't something I wanted to read. But when I saw it was available for review, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did.

Anna is open and honest about what she thought and how she felt. Some of what she says is uncomfortable, because I am so used to doing things the "Christian" way, the "good" way, that even if I did say the "F" word in my raging grief, I would be hesitant (if not downright adverse) to putting it in print in a book.

But isn't that why so many of us are coasting in our faith? We are so scared to show emotion, to be honest about how we feel about anything, that a true crisis can cause us to feel totally unmoored and unable to cope. Because the things that rock our world aren't easily soothed by superficial or fluffy faith.

If you have lost a child, or if you have found yourself frustrated with your children, I encourage you to read this book. Anna has a wonderful way of sharing her pain that evokes hope, and makes you want to be closer to God, to make lists of things you are thankful for, and to go hug your kids.

Thanks to the publisher, Convergent Books, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. To purchase a copy of this book, click here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Perfectly Timed Rescue {A Five Minute Friday link-up}

I was a raging bull the other night.

It is always like that. When I let my temper flare, and give in to the temptation to rage at my children, I feel a flood of craziness in the background, like a potential breaching of a dam.

Do I appreciate my life? Do I believe I am where I'm supposed to be right now? God gave people creative powers. Do I believe what I've testified to, that God healed me so I could have children?

Sometimes I have doubts. Because now that I'm here, with three children of my own, it feels like my testifying was to get attention or affirmation or acceptance or validation, or whatever, from others (but mostly from my husband—even though the thought of having children terrified me at the beginning of our relationship).

But what if I could go back? Would I? Wouldn't that be trading something incredible for a meager bowl-of-stew existence? Because it was in a fit of hunger (which, like anger, can be very passionate) that Esau cast aside his God-given birthright just to satisfy a fleshly longing. (See Genesis 25:29-34)

What are my longings that surface in passionate moments? Aren't those the selfish stuffs that break hearts and ruin lives when they are given free reign?

Yes. Yes, they are.

It occurs to me that I am falling into a trap.The cares of this world—meeting the needs of my husband and my children (not to mention my own needs), as well as all that homemaking entails—have caused me to lose perspective. My focus hasn't been on my first love, without whom I am helpless, and have no purpose or hope. No wonder I've felt like I'm drowning in my life.

Forgive me, Father. In my anger and selfishness I have sinned. I have hurt my precious children with angry words. Forgive my callous, ungrateful, angry, sinful heart. How wonderful is Your grace that covers all of me, even the messed up parts.

"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly," (Romans 5:6 NASB).

I am still helpless today, without You.  Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me, so I can live. Thank You for Your perfectly timed rescue.

Linking with others at Heading Home, where we write because we enjoy it, or because we need to vent, or because we like the community of others who are doing the same thing. It's fun! Click the button to join in.

And, starting tomorrow, I'm participating in 31 days of Five Minute free-writes! Click here to learn more.

[Edited 10/3/15 -- Um, who am I kidding? Writing about drowning in my life and then saying I'm going to write something every day for a whole month? Yeah, right...]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Star Spangled Banner - Wow

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood {a book review}

I haven't posted anything to my blog since July because I've been busy. In fact, I've been so busy that it makes me sad that I don't feel like I had a summer. Or any rest in a long while.

That's what the back matter on this lovely Bible study talks about:

"Being a mom usually means being busy. Really busy. Whether you're zipping from your children's piano lessons to their next ballgame or nursing a baby while comforting a toddler, life is brimming with activities. Yet one encounter can help shape every moment: time in the Word with Jesus."
 It goes on to say that in this study you will learn how to nourish your own heart.

Nourish. That's a lovely word. It means to provide things necessary for growth, health and good. Who doesn't need their heart nourished? I know I do. Most of the time mine feels weak and neglected.

This eleven-week study is set up so four days are spent digging in the word, and the fifth is a summary of the content. It is very doable, and I've been encouraged and inspired. Ms. Kruger helps to make this easier by providing all the Bible passages that she asks you to read. And she writes in such a warm, friendly way—you  almost feel like she's a dear friend counseling you from the Word. But, just like other Bible studies out there, you won't benefit from this one if you don't apply what you learn to your life.

And therein lies the challenge.

So often I'll do a study like this, or read a passage in the Bible, or another devotional (such as "My Utmost for His Highest"), and I'll journal about what I learn or what has inspired me. I may even feel so blessed by what I read that I feel like God is near. But then my day starts...

In the midst of trapping those small foxes that try to spoil my day, I don't always remember the encouraging time I had that morning. So remember, no study, no matter how amazing it is, will replace application. That is why James said:

"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude [fool] themselves," (James 1:22, NASB).

I recommend this study to anyone who needs some encouragement in their mother's heart. Just be ready to put to work what you learn.

Intrigued? I'm giving away a copy of this book (I was sent two.) Leave a comment with your favorite mom-encouraging scripture, and I'll draw a winner from the names. Just leave your email in your comment, so I can let you know you've won. (Use this format to avoid spammers: your_address (at) domain (dot) com (or net, etc). )

Questions? Drop me a note at campbells (at) ma (dot) rr (dot) com

Thanks to the publisher, Waterbrook, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review (which I've just posted).

Linking with others:

I Choose Joy!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's Not About The Nail

Um, this is perfectly hilarious.

Thanks to my dear friend Kathleen Guire for sharing with me back in January. (Sorry, I just now found it.)

p.s.  Kathleen wrote a book about her adoption experience, which is amazing. She's going to be at our local library, so if you live in or around Marion County, West Virginia, stop by the Marion County Public Library next Saturday to meet her!

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