December 16, 2011

Advent Week #5

Wow, we've only got one more post to go! And that's the "bonus" post...which I'm assuming I'll be the only one doing it! Haha! It seems that every week more and more people have dropped off the blogging bible study radar! Ahhhh well, this is what we prepared for and why we're doing a "different" kind of study this go around. That being said, I would love to hear your thought-even if its just a quick line in the comments :-)

Alrighty so getting to the reading: Matt 2:1-12

The first thing that came to mind was another verse in Luke:
When Jesus said: "I tell you, if they ( being people calling out about Him) keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

When reading this section about the "Magi" ( another term for Magicians or philosophers) I was struck that they started traveling a super long distance to visit a supposed King of the World, because they saw it in the Stars!!

Isn't that incredible? For one thing I love that even the very Heavens told of His coming. And that, just like we talked about last week, just as God was able to orchestrate His birthplace and circumstance-He was also able to orchestrate the very stars and where they were in the Heavens overhead at the time of Jesus' birth.

Its a small thing for God. To move the heavens.

I also love the fact that God doesn't hide the fact of His Son's Coming. He wants the World to know! Do you think it was an accident that these gentlemen from a far off land got to come and see the Lord of All?! Do you think that they really kept that information to themselves as they made the long trek back home and then once they got home? No, the Long Expected Savior was proclaimed in other places too!

Sidenote/Soap Box. I visited a churchy event recently where there was an "alter" call. Basically, the invitation for anyone who wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior to "come on down"and do so. But, along with the invitation, everyone in the room had to have their head down and their eyes closed. So that anyone who wanted to accept Jesus wouldn't have to be embarrassed.

Friends, as I sat there with my head down, and my eyes closed I thought about how sad I was that I couldn't look up to see if anyone was making the Greatest Most Glorious Decision of Their Lives. To invite Jesus into your life should be like setting off a Star into the Heavens. There are Angels in Heaven throwing a big ol' party because you've made the best decision you'll ever make...and yet, we're suppose to keep our heads down?!?!
From now on I'm peeking.

December 15, 2011


So I'm currently working on a little project that will probably never see the light of day...but in the process I thought I'd share something cool with you that I found this evening...

First you'll need to go read this blog post: 
Ok, now I'll give you a little back story. The person I got an email from was Brett. As in my husband. He wasn't my husband then. He was barely a friend. And that email communication, documented right there in this blog post, was the very beginning of our Relationship...the one that lead to us getting married. And having a kid named Ransom.

You'll also notice at the bottom of that blog post I inexplicably quoted the song "How Deep the Father's Love for us". The song that Brett and I chose for our Wedding Hymn. The song that helped us name our son.

And I'm pretty sure I never realized until now that I quoted it on my blog waaaay back when replying to an email was much more important than I realized.

Cool. Goosebumps cool.    

December 14, 2011

Look back

Sometimes its good to look back. Tonight I've been reading old blog posts and reminiscing. ( its been SEVEN YEARS since I left New Zealand?!?! Craziness! )

Anyway, I came across this little gem from 2006 and it encouraged me...its been so long, I can start quoting myself now, right?! hahaha! :

Christmas Time 2006:

So, this afternoon, I was feeling a tad on the overwhelmed side....I think I have this weird combo of my parents two personalities...I live in happy optimistic denial for a long while and then once life builds up I then switch into hard core stress mode. 

Anyway, long story short...I was hating it. I was hating the fact that there are fewer and fewer days until Christmas-one of the two most wonderful holiday celebrations of the whole year! And here I am stressing....So, I came home, washed dishes listened to some praise music and then once my kitchen was relatively presentable I sat down with a Christmas cookie and my Bible... and let me tell you it was like a breath of fresh air. 

So, this week I've been trying to bring a little of the meaning of Christmas into each day...but what I could honestly do and be totally happy myself is to just type out Is. 9:6 every day and just leave it at that...because it honestly gives me goosebumps every single time. 

But, I'm saving that...hehehe. 
Nope, today I was struck by the opening verses of that chapter particularly the second...

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.

It reminded me of the Christmas Story that I had read outloud ( sometimes its good to read out loud even if no one is around to listen) to myself earlier in the week from "Corrie's Christmas Memories" ( as you know, its my favorite favorite favorite Christmas book of all time), I got to the Shepherd's account of the events that happened to them in the fields: 

Yes, it was as if God had opened a little corner of the veil that we could see and hear a little bit of heaven. But then...they were gone, and it was dark," the boy went on, "so dark...darker than it ever was before. After that heavenly light the earth was so dark-so terribly dark." 

I loved that. And wouldnt that be true? Just imagine you've looked straight into a bright light and then its gone...
It made me think what a glorious gift we were given through the Lord Jesus. We were given the Light. 
Not, just in tiny little pieces as had been the way up until then...through the prophets and the law, the light would shine with promises for a brief and glorious moment and then it would be gone...

But, then the Light came. 

And we have the priviledge to look back and see Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled....we know that that Light came to bring light to the darkness. I am able to sit in my kitchen and meet with Him even now. Because not only did He come. He died. And not only did He die, but He lives. And His light shines on permenently... 

So, sure, I just went on a little tangent just now, but can you blame me?

December 09, 2011

Advent Week #4

Whaaaat?! Week Four?! Seriously! Only 16 more days until Christmas and that brings us to today's advent reading.
Luke 2: 1-16

Once again there is just SO much in this little passage that I don't know what to focus on, but I think this first bit is most relevant to me right now...

"So it came to pass..." This is you basic "story telling" phrase and since I've grown up with the "Luke 2 Christmas Story" my whole life I've always blown over these little details...but lets break it down now:

1. The ruler of the Roman Empire decides to do a census of EVERYONE in the Roman empire ( tons-o-people).
2. Israel is part of this empire.
3. This is the first time anyone's ever done such a thing ( a census of this magnitude.)
4. A little guy name Joseph lives in Nazareth but just so happens to belong to the family of David.
5. So even though he doesn't live there he heads to Bethlehem  to be counted.
6. His super pregnant fiancé goes with him.
7. She gives birth in Bethlehem. ( because I now know that this is nothing quite like riding on a donkey for hundreds of miles to induce labor.)
8. She's giving birth to Jesus.

Boom. The perfect example of how God controls things down to the DETAIL. Am I the only one that thinks it's mind blowing that God orchestrated Jesus' birth like that?

You see, if you read in the book of Micah ( in the Old Testament of the Bible) in chapter 5 verse 2, Micah the prophet, prophecies the following:
' But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times."

And so, of course, Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem and yet his mother-to-be was in Nazareth. People were not big travelers in those days, and pregnant woman were really not big travels. Yet, that was not a big deal for God. He just put some ideas into the current ruler of the World ( We're calling Roman that right now...) and things worked out perfectly.

You see, that's what I've been reminded of lately. My friend Miranda and her husband are moving to Hawaii and last minute all kinds of craziness came up, the week they were moving!! "How could this BE?!?!"
But then I was comforted by the knowledge that there is no small detail that is outside God's hands. He cares about us as much-or more so than his own son ( He loved us so much that He sacrificed His son for us.) 

I love how this amazing story of Jesus, the Son of God being born starts with the manipulation of a world leader and continues right on down to some Shepherds seeing right into Heaven and getting a direct invite to the Event that started the One Event that changed the World forever! Wow.
So, the next time I'm shaking my head over the current political climate ( WHO do we vote for come next November, huh?!?)  or wondering what in the WORLD the Army is going to next....then I'm going to remember the order that God found important. Shepherds first, then the wise men. ;-)

Which is coming up next week, if I'm not mistaken ;-)

December 02, 2011

Advent Week #3

To stay with my theme from last week, and since I've been literally listening to Christmas music NON-STOP around here lately ( something about filling the silence...and also, who am I kidding, Ransom is super cute when he tries to dance...)-I thought of this song when reading the passage for this week:

As a kid I never thought of Mary much. She was a grown-up ( or so my kid brain thought) and therefore she must have known what to do/dealt well with the whole "having a baby that's also the Son of God thing"....but as I've grown older a few things have come into my thought process about her:
For one thing, she was probably MUCH younger than I young as 13 or 14 and probably no older than 19 ( ancient of days). Also, the whole having a baby before you were married. Did. Not. Happen. You would have been ostracized or worse

And so here's this girl who's told by an angel that she is going to have a baby...right now. No waiting to get married and save some face, nope. She's pregnant starting today. Do you think she had Morning sickness? Fatigue? Heart burn? Ligament pains? Difficulty sleeping? Do you think she dealt with all the normal pregnancy symptoms? I mean, I'm sure her labor hurt as much as the next girls and I tend to think she had a normal pregnancy. And even if it was great ( I hear some people have these...) it is still a sacrifice to carry a child. A great sacrifice of love.

And now to the reading specifically:

verses 28 and 29:
The angel greeted Mary and said, "You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you." 
Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant."

Now forget my tangent here, but don't you think that's an odd reaction "confused"?!  I mean, if an angel showed up and told me I was blessed I'd be excited, amazed, wonderstruck...but I don't know if confused is the first descriptor that comes to mind. But I think its perfect. Its a reminder that this is just a plain little girl, with probably the most basic "Spiritual upbringing".  From the outside she had no outstanding characteristics...

but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might be put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong.." ( ICor 1:27)

When I start looking down on others, or even myself thinking we're not cool enough/smart enough/people-skilled enough...I need to remember that the Mother of Jesus himself was just a humble little girl...the important thing about her was what comes later...

verse 38: Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said." And the angel left her. 

She was obedient and she had faith that what the Lord said He would do. This is H-U-G-E. 
I've been reading through Kings in my Quiet time and since I don't have all the time in the world, just take my word for it that there are tons and tons of examples in the Bible of Kings, Princes, Captains of Armies and other fancy fancy people questioning God, not following what He asks of them, wanting more, whining, complaining, twisting His words and doing something different...the list goes on. 

The contrast is striking. And so this Holiday season I'm focusing on the Humbleness of Mary. I'm thinking of her as the simple little girl that she was. As a girl who was told the Will of God and who went with it. And in return she  was truly blessed. She got to be the one who brought the most precious baby in the whole world into the world. THAT is incredible to think about...


December 01, 2011

Craftiness explotes.

I have recently been feeling rather crafty. I always do around the holidays. It has something to do with Christmas cookies. Probably one of my fondest memories of my girlfriends from high school would have to be our epic cookie decorating:

Notice the ginger bread man with his arm ripped off...or the "christmas" duck...

What we lacked in skill we made up for in spades and spades of irony....

Anyway, not much has changed in the past (ten years(!!!)) and I still enjoy myself some powdered sugar food coloring combo-the only thing is that now I try my hardest to make my cookies look good...sadly, I learned recently that one should never attempt craftiness while in a really bad mood. This year I did not have a good birthday. I mean, by now I should know that adults don't get birthdays in the traditional sense...but when your birthday is all but ignored and crowned off by a trip to the pediatrician...well, pouty Abigail enters. But, I tried to rally and around 9:30pm I decided to make Thanksgiving cookies for Brett's men. Something about me being a cookie martyr or something. Anyway....

I don't even think the picture does my icing disaster justice.
Yes, I did take a picture...I knew I'd want to blog about this...

The best part, however, is that once the bad icing was finished and I'd completely given up. I packed all the cookies into a tupperware container and placed it on the kitchen counter ( out of sight, out of mind). The next morning ( and yes, I didn't see Brett at all on my birthday, and he left before I could get up the next day...) Brett took said cookies to work without knowing that they were "duds". When asked about it later ( Abigail: Did the guys comment on how ugly the cookies where?! Brett:! What are you talking about?! They looked fine! They were eaten really fast, I don't think anyone looked at them...) my icing skills were both appreciated and unappreciated all at the same time.

So, lessons were learned: Don't do crafts with upset. Don't do crafts if you want them appreciated by hungry dudes. Maybe move forward from cookies for a while...

And so I decided to do a new project last night ( have you noticed I'm left alone a lot with a ton of time on my hands?! hahaha!)

I made this little Count Down to Christmas platter/sign last night using:
One IKEA tray that cost $3 ( seriously! Why can't I live near an IKEA!?!?), some chalk board paint ( whoever invented this stuff deserves some sort of Craft Crown), some leftover white paint from when I made Ransom's mobile  way back in the day, and a little red nail polish ( yup! That's how I roll.)

Anyway, the green numbers are in chalk and I think it turned out relatively cute considering I'm the one who made it. Luckily I have a kid now and in a few years people will just assume that he made it and will think that its adorable.


On Thanksgiving morning I woke up all stressed about my day....I was counting guests ( the surprise ones and the ones planned on...), game planning my food making schedule ( start potatoes at 11:30, put casserole in over at 11:45...) and I headed into the kitchen to make Ransom a sippy cup when I noticed something that made me stop:

This orchid my friend Amy gave me months ago when she moved to Fort Campbell...side note: the only positive thing about being the friend who stays behind when everyone else moves ( which is the awful side effect of being stationed at a Army post that is usually where people go just for schools...) is that you collect a lot of condiments ( I have at least half used ketchups in my fridge at any given point) and dry goods ( rice anyone?!)...and every so often you get an Orchid!! Anyway, Amy gave me this orchid months ago...and I put it on my kitchen ledge. Watered it a few times. And promptly forgot about it.

And then, Thanksgiving Day, it bloomed. And now its kept on blooming!! I've got two and it looks like at least two more to go buds coming out!! What a nice surprise! Something I wasn't even looking for that brought me such joy was the reminder that I needed that sometimes special things DO happen.
Which has inspired a message:

Army. Most of the time I really despise you. You're like the family member I can't stand ( I'm assuming, I don't have any such family members myself). Most of the time all I see is your flaws. But, I'm going to throw you a bone and point out one of the greatest things about you. Thank you for the friendships. I have meet friends who I never ever would have met otherwise and I am SO grateful for them.
Yes, in just a few weeks you are taking away my friend Miranda to exotic Hawaii ( why didn't we get stationed there?!?) and honestly this blog may get a bit morose after she's gone, but I'll focus on the positive here and say that I am so grateful that I at least got these last six months with her! She has been a kindred spirit in a time when a kindred spirit was most needed. We're alike enough to like all the same TV shows ( Gilmore Girls! Castle! New Girl!) and recipes ( Guinness Brownies! Butternut Squash Lasagna!)  and have equally nerdy husbands- but different enough to be able to see into each others lives and encourage and cheer each other on in just the right way. I, who have never ever liked running, have looked forward to walking/ huffing and puffing the news of the past day with Miranda. At risk of being a bit too poetic, she was my Orchid during a particularly stressful time. And Army,  I am thankful.

Oh. And obviously God gets the serious credit here. Why do I doubt that He will provide when He always always does? I am grateful for Melissa, Keri, Rolinda, Deb and Robin and other ladies who He has given me during this time and season, as well....yes, I am currently sitting alone at home at 9pm-not expecting my husband any time soon...but I am provided for nonetheless. Little Orchid reminders that there is beauty just waiting to bloom.

November 25, 2011

Advent Week #2

Boy, do I need this study today! I personally hate black Friday....I mean, I'm just as materialistic as the next girl( sadly) but I try to at least keep up the appearances that I'm not....there is nothing about Black Friday that exudes conservative or being happy with what one already has. Nothing. And so I hate it. Oh and I hate crowds and getting up early or staying up late-so there's that too ;)
Anyway, I had to go against everything that I stand for today and go wrap presents at the Px ( basically a cross between a Walmart and a Kmart that also sells Coach purses...) to raise money for Brett's company's Family Readiness Group. Five hours on my feet....wearing an elf hat and making up different words to Jingle Bells that basically says "Let us wrap your presents, you give us five dollars..."
Put all that together and I'm grouch.

So I came home, gave my kid a bath and read...

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 and then Isaiah 11:1-4, 6-9
and then I went and listened to this...

Now, did that not give you chills when it gets to the chorus, "WONDERFUL! COUNSELOR! ALMIGHTY GOD!...." ?!
That's how these verses need to be read...with that kind of joy and expectation, that kind of reverence.
And getting down to business, I confess that I actually went about memorizing this whole chapter this past summer and I got to...ooooh....verse 3. This has reminded me and inspired me to pick it back up. Because, while it is a Promise about Jesus-something that's already happened. I also find these verses to be a Promise for the future.
First of all, the government will be on His Shoulders. Basically, bottom line. He will Rule over all. No more stressing and worrying about this or that about our own least not worry to the point of distraction. For here I am reminded that ultimately there is One who will have Victory over it ALL...

Wonder Counselor- I learned today that the word "Wonderful" actually means "miraculous". and Counselor is "one of great wisdom". Oh how we all desire that! Someone who is miraculously wise when it comes to our lives. How I must trust in Jesus that He is, indeed, just that!

The Mighty God- Ah yes, important detail, since so many like to say Jesus was a "prophet" or a "wise man" it flat out says that He is God. We cannot dilute and decide which bits and pieces we want to believe. He is God. The Almighty God. And He deserves my Praise.

The Everlasting Father-Oh how wonderful! We are all in need of a Daddy. A true Father. One who loves us, disciplines us, protects us, instructs us....Jesus is just that. He is are everlasting father.

Prince of Peace- I love this one! The one who brings peace. The giver of blessing. I saw the great need for this characteristic of Jesus in the Px today. So many searching for peace and blessing in a giant TV....And I too am guilty of looking in all the wrong places. And yet, here it is, the Answer. Jesus is the Prince of Peace....

And then I love at the end of verse 7 it says "And the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this." Wow. Nothing, nothing could get in the way of the Lord's ultimate plan of sending us a Savior in the form of Jesus. And this was prophesied ( here in Isaiah) a good 700 years before Christ ( or so my wikipedia skills tell me). And I was reminded in Genesis last week, the Lord knew from the BEGINNING that He would one day bring a Savior to Earth. Awesome, truly awesome.

And now, since I'm once again in danger of making this post too favorite favorite part of the Chapter 11 reading has to be verse 3:

His greatest joy will be to Obey the Father. This king will not judge by appearances and listen to rumors...

Many spend so much time reading the Gospels ( the books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) to figure out the characteristics of Christ-as well we should! But I forget to look elsewhere as well for the characteristics of Jesus that I can try to emulate and learn from....and after a day spent surrounded by gossip and the temptation to be catty. I am glad of a reminder of our Lord, a thankfulness in my heart that He is both fair and just and the perfect example of an obedient Son.

Spending an evening thinking about these characteristics of Christ reminds me afresh how much I love Him and delight in celebrating His birth and look expectantly to His coming.

November 21, 2011

I wish I'd thought of this sooner ( Happy Birthday, Me.)

So, on Sunday I was taking my thirty minute walk with God...which turned into me sitting on a swing in the elementary school's playground that is conveniently located across the street from our house....the sky was beautiful, bright autumn blue with streaks of clouds across it. The air was warm, but since it was about 3pm most of the humidity had burned off ( thanks Georgia just CANT make up your mind can you!?)...anyway, I was listening to praise music and thanking God for many things. And I was reminded that when I turned 22, I took the time every day of the month of November, up until my talk about a different person ( or persons) who have impacted my life up to that point.
So I went back, and I checked it out. 

 Its interesting that if I was to do the same thing today, there would be a whole slew of new people that I would need to add, and that in just 6 years I could think of ten people ( or peoples) who I would definitely need to talk about, thank God for, be reminded of how they have impacted me, changed me and helped shape the person I am today. ( and that list includes really impacting my husband(!) and son(!)) Its amazing how quickly time passes and how much has happened in the past 6 years. I've moved 6 times and lived in 4 different states, I've gotten married, "joined" the Army Life, I've had four jobs-two of which were non-paying ( haha!) make that FIVE jobs ( I'm now counting Mothering as a job), and I've had a child, I've become an aunt several times over, and I've made many new friends and lost touch with several. I've come to terms with the person that I once was, and I've learned a lot about who I want to be.
I am excited that the next six years prove to be JUST as exciting!!

November 18, 2011

Advent Week #1

Gen. 3:8-19, Gen 22:15-18

As far as this study goes ( if you're inclined to look ahead at the coming weeks readings), this week has by far the "hardest" passage.  And it may even seem odd that we'd read about the "fall of man" during the Christmas season, a time of Joy and Hope.

But, really, as with any gift, the gift is much better when you know how much went into it-time, thought, money....these are things we often subconsciously calculate when valuing a gift we receive. And of course, the BEST gifts are the ones you really want ( or if you're dramatic like me...need.)....

And if there was every a gift that we needed more than anything-it would be Jesus. The Son of God.
In reading Genesis 3, especially the first part ( I took a running start at our reading for the study), is such a grim reminder of what a scummy person I really am...even on my best days. I am JUST like Adam and Eve ( pointing the finger, making excuses etc. etc.) and just like Adam and Eve, I'm sinful. Very very sinful.

And yet, how glorious is verse 15?!?
When right there as God's talking to the Devil he talks about His Son for the first time....

"You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies. One of hers ( JESUS!!!!!) will strike you on the head, and you shall bruise his heal." 

Right here at the very BEGINNING of the Bible, God is really ready with a way to send freedom and victory to mankind. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring.

Which brings me to the second passage for this week, a little change of gears but always a great piece of our Christmas "Heritage"....

I always love looking at these Promises that God makes to Abraham and after him Isaac, and Israel, and even David later on....with each, God talks about their Family, their they will be more "numerous than the sands of the seashore" and how their "descendants ( JESUS!!!) will be a blessing to the whole world!! I always get goosebumps when I think about how this is quite literally talking about all of us! How because of His sacrifice on the Cross, we are now part of this Family.
What a family, a family that may not be connected by blood, but instead by Heart.

This holiday season I thank God for my "extended" family...the ones connected by Blood...but not family blood, but instead the Blood that Christ spilled for us all.  (oooops! Look at me! I switched and went all Easter on this Christmas post!! Gah! I can't help it!). I have such an amazing family-and even though Brett and I and now Ransom too are all over the place, I know we are never alone. I am grateful for my family.

November 13, 2011

GET EXCITED!!!! ( New Bloggin' Bible Study!!)

So, I have to tell you I was a bit...I dont a loss about what to do for the next Bloggin' Bible Study. And since most of you where all about starting up again immediately...the crunch was on! At first, I was all about doing another poll and voting about which book of the Bible to study next (I still want to do this in the future...) , but then...then I read a blog post and I got really inspired. Strike that. I got inspired and EXCITED!!

The blog post I read is here.  But basically its an advertisement for an album put out-all proceeds go to help those affected by human trafficking-by the band Jubilee. The album is an Advent Album, basically 9 "lessons" ( or scripture readings) and some Christmas Hymns to be meditated on leading up until Christmas...and this got me thinking. WE HAVE GOT TO CELEBRATE Advent together here on our Bloggin' Bible Study! What better way to study the bible in this busy "holiday" season then to prepare ourselves with some preparation and expectation for the coming of Christ?!?!

So, we've got (pauses to count) 6 weeks until Christmas. And I would like to do at least 5 weeks of "lessons" ( though I think I'll do one for Christmas Eve too...just because I love it so much!)....
Now, this time it'll be a little bit harder to keep up because we're jumping around the Bible, but hopefully we'll get some great thoughts about Jesus's coming and a better grasp of the "big picture" of Christmas and it'll all be worth it! Here is my guide for the coming weeks!! I'll be referencing back to it as the weeks go on, but feel free to read the passages and go with what the Spirit leads you on how YOU study it!! And once again, remember to link your thoughts to me in the comment section and I'll be keeping up with all the links up at the top of the page under "bloggin' bible study"

Week One ( Nov 18):
Read Genesis 3: 8-19, Genesis 22:15-18
Make sure I understand the context, and connect it to Jesus coming to Earth. ( by looking at the whole chapter if need be and surrounding verses, check out for added notes and commentary if you want.)
Ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me?

Week Two (Nov 25):
Read Isaiah 9:2, and verses 6-7, Isaiah 11:1-4, and 6-9

Make sure I understand the context, and connect it to Jesus coming to Earth. ( by looking at the whole chapter if need be and surrounding verses, check out for added notes and commentary if you want.)
Ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me? 

Week Three (Dec 2):
 Read Luke 1:26-38.
Check to see if there are other accounts of this particular event in other gospels...think about how this particular passage may or may not be how I've always thought it was ( i.e. in childhood stories etc.) and once again ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me?

Week Four (Dec 9):
Read Luke 2:1-16

Check to see if there are other accounts of this particular event in other gospels...think about how this particular passage may or may not be how I've always thought it was ( i.e. in childhood stories etc.) and once again ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me? 

Week Five (Dec 16):
Read Matt 2:1-12

Check to see if there are other accounts of this particular event in other gospels...think about how this particular passage may or may not be how I've always thought it was ( i.e. in childhood stories etc.) and once again ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me? 

Read John 1:1-14

Make sure I understand the context, and connect it to Jesus coming to Earth. ( by looking at the whole chapter if need be and surrounding verses, check out for added notes and commentary if you want.)
Ask myself what this speaks to my life today.  And how is this going to affect this Christmas for me? 

A good season

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall say green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.
Jer 17:7-8

I think we just might be in a “year of drought” around here. Now, I hesitate to say that because usually ( and here comes my non-Pollyanna thought process…) when I think things are bad I get shown what bad reeeeally looks like. But, anyway, instead of saying things are bad, I’ll just say that things are currently hard.
But, I was really encouraged by the whole “does not cease to bear fruit” part. I think I often critique my circumstances and think, “well, I shouldn’t start looking for God to do anything right NOW…because right now is really bad…I’m sure he’ll wait and do something later when things are better…”

Which brings me to Joshua 3. I read this a few months ago and was reminded of it today...This chapter BLOWS MY MIND. Imagine Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years and then finally, after all that time God decides to send them on over into the Promise Land…”when the river was at its fullest.” Um..really?! 40 years and God had to wait and send them during the rainy season?! During the season when crossing rivers is the hardest?!?!
WOW. Bad planning God. Or iiiiissss it?!
But, I bet the Israelites didn’t see it coming, bet they thought-as I would have, that surely God would wait for a more “optimal” time to do his work. Wrong.

I think we should expect God to move ALL the time! There is no bad season with God. There is no drought, or flood that can stop God from doing what He wants in our lives. His fruit has no particular season in which it grows best. Instead all that matters is the ground in which its growing. I need to stop looking around at my circumstances and instead make sure my tree has some deep/long roots….then just start watching. Because something’s bound to happen!

November 07, 2011

Philippians Bloggin Bible Study- In Review

So, I've been thinking about how I'd classify this Philippians Bloggin' Bible Study...and I'd have to say "refreshing" and "laid back" would be at the top of my list.
Refreshing because its been good to have the accountability and the consistency of really digging deep into the Word and ask questions, not just reading it because "I should" or its a "good idea" but because its meant to deeply impact my life and its one of the ways in which God speaks to really why wouldn't I be doing this  more?!?

And laid back because I've been down right delighted that people do not find the "Fridays" deadline as a restriction for doing the studies...eventually. hehe!! I've SO loved going back and seeing people slowly trickle in as they find the time to read and study a chapter and share their thoughts! I think all told about 14 people participated at some point or another and I hope that those who only got through the first few chapters do not consider this bible study "finished" until they've added their thoughts for the final chapters!! I'm still adding links up at the top of the page there! So feel free to let me know when you want added...

Also, I've added a little poll to the sidebar of this blog, so if you're reading this on your phone, ipad, or on a blog roll, please visit my ACTUAL blog and answer the question pleeeeease! :-)
And feel free to add your "review" of this "bloggin' bible study" in the comment section. I'm looking for things like, "your posts were too long."  " I wish we'd had more time on each chapter."   "I loved your witty remarks about holy scriptures." and "why don't they give out Oscars for Blog posts?! You should get one."  etc. etc.

And of course, head on over to the Link at the top of the blog where you can visit all the ladies who've participated in this study and read all their great thoughts on Philippians! I keep adding to the list so check back in! :-)

November 05, 2011

Headed home

So, I've been pretty MIA this week because my brain has been on vacation since last fact, the brain went on vacay a bit TOO early, since I was one minute late for check in and was told that we could not check any bags.
I literally stuffed Ransom's Pjs and a few diapers and our tooth brushes into my purse and had to give my suitcase to my friend Miranda to take home....a ten day trip with only the clothes on our backs....awwwwwwweeeeeessssssooooooome!
But as irony would have it, while I couldn't be ONE MINUTE LATE for check plane could be 45 minutes late without any repercussions. However, the silver lining was Miranda miraculously did not go straight home,but went just down the street to Birlington Coat Factory. So she was able to quickly buy a Carryon bag,stuff as much of our clothes into the bag and bring it to me at security. Whew! Crisis semi-averted.

BUT THEN I went and left my iPad on the plane in Dallas. So yeah. That was also a no-brain moment. ( after a tearful night, a million calls to the airport lost and found and a drive BACK to the airport, I did get it back. Praise God.)

So, that's how I started the trip. So needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about Ransom and my return trip tomorrow.
Though I will say, with a time change and a time zone change I honestly have NO IDEA when we're getting home. Hahaha

The rest of our trip to Texas was a total 180 from the beginning ( minus the stomach bug that Ransom and I both got...on the same night...awful) and we had a grand time with family! We loved every minute. I was gratified to notice that Ransom seemed to recognize all his Nacogoches "haunts" immediately and didn't need any time to get use to his bed in the closet again. ( I will be so sad when Ransom outgrows sleeping in a walk in closet on's SO handy). Which makes me even more excited about Christmas when we can spend even more time with both sides of the family and most importantly Brett will be with us too! I love the thought that Ransom is going to have such great memories of time in Nacogdoches...the place where all the people who spoil him live.

But, at least for now, we must return to real life. A root canal calls my name on Tuesday. And Ransom needs to realize that he can walk just as well at home as it can in Texas. We get to look forward to Daddy coming home from the field and hopefully get some time together. a thanksgiving celebration to plan. And, of course, I've got a finale Philippians Post to write and hopefully some much needed hang outs with my darling friends that I've missed while being gone!! real life isn't all THAT bad
See you when I get back :-)

October 28, 2011

Philippians Chapter 4

Well, here I am on chapter four! I love that this bible study is dragging out...every week it seems someone gets behind or even starts the bible study for the first time and I keep having to go back and add people's links to the Bloggin' Bible Study page at the top of this blog as they get their study completed! That just tells me that we're all a little bit rebellious and "deadlines" are just suggestions here! Love it. ;-) Keep your thoughts coming and nevermind if you're behind or on a completely different chapter! Jump in where you left off.

Buuuut, since I started this thing I'm doing my darndest to be on time! So here are my thoughts on chapter 4.

The first thing that stuck out to me was about Euodias and Syntyche. ( verse 2). Ok, nevermind that these ladies made the cut into the Bible ( its not like they lived to see that happen). But can you IMAGINE how it must have felt to have your names read aloud at the gathering of the church ( probably in someones home, everyone crammed into the living area, probably eating a little bread, having some wine....listening with eagerness to Paul's letter to them...). And to have Paul CALL YOU OUT.
Oh. Snap.
So, immediately identify. Maybe because I probably need calling out so much of the time. To be perfectly honest, some of the people I have the hardest time getting along with are Sisters in Christ. Ladies who I should be working along side, ladies with a common goal. But instead I get hung up on little things. It needs to stop.

In the book of Ephesians 4:2 it says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Wow, what beautiful verses that have a lifetime worth of change in my heart listed. I do not want to be a Euodias and Syntyche.

And now to the big guns!!!! I think just about EVERYBODY that did the overview of Philippians the first week mentioned these verses. They are just that good. I've been looking forward to getting to them this whole study and now that I'm hear I read them:

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And then let the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

What can I add this go around? What more can I glean from these verses that I even have memorized I love them so?

I think its the "And then" part.  I'm like a big ol'  "prayer and petition" girl...because lets be honest, I'm also an "anxious" girl...and so I get that part of the verse right. I immediately start quoting this verse in my head, "Do not be anxious about anything..." and then I start praying...and I basically start complaining/pleading with God. But, I forget about the connector, the "with thanksgiving" which I  think just might be the key to the "And then..." part which talks about the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.
Because THAT'S THE GOOD STUFF!! I'm telling you, there is nothing more wonderful than having the peace of God, that you cannot even EXPLAIN to people when they wonder why the heck you're so calm, or so happy or so peaceful when faced with ....well....let's be  And so what's the key? I think the key is the thanksgiving part.
I think its being able to thank God for all that He Is. All that He Does. All that He WILL Do. All that He Has Done. And yes, I just used a bunch of capital letters incorrectly. I guess I'm just lacking in the ability to describe what Praise and Thanksgiving are. But I definitely know they are lacking in my life right now.
I have GOT to find a way to have some peace and quiet ( there's something about quiet for me...) in my day, its definitely not happening while Ransom's awake that's for sure, so I don't know....I need to reevaluate my time.

Alright, I should also talk about verses 8 and 9 because they are also totally fantastic and speak to me a lot...but dang it, I'm probably already going on too long and I'm running at risk that you're already bored. *sigh*

Maybe I'll just sneak it in next week when I do my Philippians: RE-CAP. Which is basically when I just re-read philippians. Look back over the key things I've learned and then tell you guys how AWESOME its been reading all your stay tuned for that next week. :-)
Till then...Chapter 4? What do ya think?

October 25, 2011

Back up plan.

Sometimes I totally doubt that things aren't going to work out. Sometimes I think about Brett deploying and what I'll do when he does. 

However, I really need to remember this truth.... When I envision the future I always leave out a very important factor: The GOD factor. 

Like, today for instance. Last night Ransom took two tiny steps. I immediately texted Brett to tell him the exciting news, but at the same time my heart hurt for him! There seemed NO WAY that I'd be able to capture first steps on camera for him to see, and he's always always at work. But, then, this morning after our usual walk my friend Miranda and I were standing in the front yard-SIDE NOTE: ( we'd actually just got back from driving our walking route because we'd lost a blanket from Ransom's stroller some where on the way and had to drive a windy way around our neighborhood till we found it. Good times.).

 And I was trying to get Ransom to take a few steps again. But he didn't. Instead he started for REALZ, ALL OVER the front yard. And so, because Miranda was there to make sure Ransom didn't face plant...I was able to play camera woman ( and crying mother). 
See? I couldn't have guessed that would happen. It was not the perfect perfect way ( as in Brett and I were there together to cheer on Ransom), but in some ways this is more perfect. This is the life God has given us, and He helps us through it....

On that same note, Brett is headed off into the field tomorrow for 15 days. The cool thing is I'm headed to Texas the day after. The extra cool part is that my family was planning a little "family reunion" that weekend anyway, without even asking what our schedule was ( they always just assume we won't be able to make it.) so it turned out wonderfully that while Brett is gone Ransom and I will be distracted for 10 days by wonderful Texas Family! 
This is JUST LIKE the last time Brett was in the field and our friend Tabitha came to visit. A trip we'd planned long in advance and had no idea that Brett would be gone that week. And there it was. Once again a perfect distraction and company to help me through the lonely times! 

I know that there are a lot (lot) of tough things in our future. But I also can not begin to imagine all the ways the Lord will help us through them. 

Now, check out my kid truckin' it across the lawn...would you guess these are this 3-20th steps ever?! 

October 21, 2011

Philippians Chapter 3 ( part 2)

Ok, so where were we?!? Taking a tiny breather and moving on...sometimes I find that if I read too many of these posts all at once my mind gets BLOWN and I need to eat a cookie or something to help my blood sugar levels ( hehe. any excuse for a cookie).

Anyway, continuing on with Philippians 3....

Next I would like to talk about verse 13-14, because its always been a favorite of mine:

...forgetting what lies behind and striving forward to what lives ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

I personally really liked the "Basic English Version" of this too: thing I do, letting go those things which are past, and stretching out to the things which are before..

I like the word choice of "letting go" there because we all know that we usually don't actually forget our past, but I think we can all get a little something from the idea of letting go.  How hard it is at times to let go of the past, the things hanging over us, whether
 guilt, shame, fear, even sadness and grief. They often hang there and do not let me move forward to a closer relationship with Jesus....but I love this verse! A reminder that the only way to truly press forward and "win the prize" ( as stated in verse 14) is to look ahead! I guess its encouraging to know that that's what JESUS actually wants me to do! He wants me to stop dwelling on what is already done and move forward! 
I liked what I read in Barnes commentary:

Backward, we see everything to dishearten and to humble. Our own unfaithfulness; our coldness, deadness, and dullness; the little zeal and ardor which we have, all are fitted to humble and discourage. He is the most cheerful Christian who looks onward, and who keeps heaven always in view; he who is accustomed much to dwell on the past, though he may be a true Christian, will be likely to be melancholy and dispirited, to be a recluse rather than a warm-hearted and active friend of the Saviour.

So, I am going to look over my day to day thoughts and see if I am holding on a little too tightly to anything from the past and if so, I'm going to try to sort those things out...

Philippians Chapter 3 ( part 1)

So here we chapter and oddly enough I think my application for this week comes for verse ONE!

"Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord...." 

I looked up the word "rejoice" in the greek and it its original meaning here is something along the lines of "be conscious of his grace."  Nice. I definitely have not been doing that enough, and thinking about my prayers lately the are mostly if not completely requests. Sometimes I'm thankful for prayers that have already been answered, but I've definitely been spending ZERO time just rejoicing in God for who He is. For the grace that He bestows continually...something I want to do more, especially as we enter into the Thanksgiving season ;-)

oooooo...there's so much in this chapter and I think I could write about something from every verse, but I'll just do my favorites...

in verse 3 ( ok, so I didn't get much further! heh) it reads:
"For it is we who are the circumcision ( meaning Jews, or God's chosen people), who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh-even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh." 

So, this could be a bit confusing if you don't know some background key "bible back story". Basically the Jews are God's chosen people as decided by their great great great (great) granddaddy's relationship with God ( Abraham). Then through Moses, God gave these people the rules to live by "The Law" ( which includes but is not limited to the ten commandments) ...and so, as Jewish people they had a lot of (rightly to some extent) confidence in their heritage and there relationship with God. However, and what Paul is talking about here, when Jesus and died on the cross came he did away with the Law...he got rid of all the hoops and bells and whistles that a person once had to jump through in which to get "in good" with God. He also did something marvelous ( in my opinion) and got rid of the whole "having to be a Jew" thing and basically gave EVERYONE the right to become children of God ( John 1:12) . And so here Paul is reminded the Philippians of that fact. And here's where I stopped to ponder....

 Do I sometimes put my confidence in other things, other than in Jesus and what He's done for me?

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, Jeremiah 9:23

Do I often put my confidence in my own heritage ( after all, I am lucky enough to have a pretty amazing family ( both blood and not) who have good relationships with Jesus and who's faith is strong ( BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!) and afterall, I am a good person- even though I have really really wanted to yell at my downstairs neighbor ( yes, the ones with the naked little boy sign out front) for waking Ransom up from his nap TWICE this week..I haven't=good person. And I volunteer, and give to the poor and I exercise and eat right and take care of the environment ( we drive a Prius!!) (ALL OF THESE THINGS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!) . I also read my Bible every day, and do Bible studies ( like this one!) and I pray and I try to help others grow in their relationship with God! ( NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!). Yup, bottom line. I should not be putting my confidences in any of these things, but instead realize and delight in the fact that all of this is not important. The only thing that is important-" the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." ( verse 7) . 

Jesus wants me to KNOW his, and have a RELATIONSHIP with Him....and He wants me to quit putting all my trust ( aka. my worries, my time, my energies) into things that are not as important. Sure, all those things I listed above are part of it, but they are just that-PART, the toppings, the condiments...they are not the juicy goodness that is the bottom line: A relationship. With Jesus.

OH MAN! I haven't even gotten past verse 3!!! And I've said so much already!

How bout we call this part one and I post part two a little later?!?

October 20, 2011

New Recipe time!!!

So, as I have said before...I'm a little bit addicted to Pinterest. But, unlike past addictions this one is a KEEPER! I currently have a cute fall wreath on my front door, a fun fall centerpiece on my table and I'm working on a wine bottle vase right now....and don't get me started on the recipes.

Well, actually you SHOULD get me started because you have just GOT to try some of the yummy things that have been going on in my house lately.

First of all, Sunday Waffle Day is something everyone should do. I mean, if you need to make it Saturday Waffle Day or Sunday Pancake Day that's ok too...the point is. Breakfast is a lost art in my house most of the time...but I'm LOVING bringing it back and making it "special" again.

So, we tried a truly awesome recipe a few weeks ago and I've already made them again! PUMPKIN WAFFLES! ( I adapted my recipe from this link ...its pretty much the same I just save you a little on how many bowls you need to use-seriously. Who likes to do dishes?!?)

  •  1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • • 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • • 2 tsp. ginger
  • • 1/4 tsp. cloves ( I have yet to have this on hand...still turned out yum!) 
  • • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • 1 cup whole milk
  • • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm
  1. Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil, and set it to the desired temperature.
  2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together to break apart the cornstarch. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to blend.
  3. Separate eggs: yolks go into dry ingred. bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.
  4. Add pumpkin and milk to the egg yolks.
  5. Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Pour melted butter into the yolk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, use electric mixer to mix everything together. ( This is why I do the egg whites I can use the same dirty electric mixer...)
  7. Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.
  8. Pour into waffle iron. ENJOY!

October 18, 2011

No time for the internet?!?!

Seriously. That's how life has been lately. But it's time for a genuine catch up so here goes:
 Ransom's been wanting to walk all over the house. Which he could TOTALLY do without me, but its SO MUCH BETTER ( according to a recent poll of one) if he's holding on to my index that takes up time.

And then there's hosting various visitors and guests in our home. ( our friend Christoph just left this morning. I hadn't seen him in ten years and Brett hadn't seen him in seven, but he's one of those totally awesome people that you can be comfortable around IMMEDIATELY. We loved having him in our home, I just hope he enjoys watching a one year old exclaim about cars driving by...because that's about the height of excitement around here....)
Brett's working at least 15 hours a day and some during the weekend for good measure. You just don't notice all that your husband does for you until he's not around ;-)....but when we DO get to see him luckily our time is filled up doing Army related activities. Examples: Last week we went and saw a play that Brett had to attend, and on Saturday we all went to the teeny tiny town of Lumpkin and enjoyed there Street Fair. I will say, on the Street Fair note, I'm almost glad  we were "invited" to go, since I would have NEVER gone otherwise...and I would have then missed out on the 4 piece marching band.

And speaking of....  I'm getting a ROOT CANAL. Which is AWESOME.  I literally have ONE cavity in my WHOLE HEAD and it turns out to need a root canal?!?! Doesn't that seem fishy?!?  So yes.

I know, I know, this post paints a dreary picture, but its really not- Fall is my absolutely favorite time of year and I refuse to have it ruined. Next week Ransom and I are headed to Texas for a week ( wooo!) and I'm currently digging an AMAZING Bible Study series that we're doing with some friends of ours...its called Experiencing God ( please ignore the scary looking Moses on the cover) and I have literally had all sorts of misconceptions about God ( and myself) blown out of the water almost daily. It's THAT amazing. I've also been making some rockin' recipes lately that I plan to share with you all in a few posts so staaaaay tuned!

October 14, 2011

Philippians Chapter 2

613 miles....that's the distance that Epaphroditus had to travel from Philippi to Rome. NO WONDER HE ALMOST DIED!! Across modern day Turkey, Macedonia, probably part of Greece ( I'm no historian here)...and then cross the Adriatic Sea and then over Italy to get to Rome.
THAT'S what E ( I am getting tired of slowly spelling out his name every time..and besides if we were in a real live Bible study right now I'd be calling him "E" because I can never pronounce names in the Bible this makes it way more realistic), so that's what E had to do to bring some money to Paul in Rome.

I think after I had read the whole chapter and then did my research on E's travels it totally changed everything I was going to write about the chapter. It just became a lot more REAL. Paul talking about putting others before ourselves. Reminding his readers of the Example of Christ-who came to SERVE not to be BE SERVED ( Mark 10:45), who gave His very life for us favorite "Easter" verses in this chapter being: (7-8)
rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!

then Paul's reminder to the Philippians to not grumble or complain about doing good works ( this is no accident!! As soon as you start telling me to be selfless and humble, all the arguing and bad-attitude-ness in me starts bubbling over and I'm guessing its the same for the Philippians too!
And then Paul brings it back to talking about his own feelings towards them where we get to this verse:
(verse 17)
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you..." 
Which when I thought about what that MEANS:
Ok, so a drink offering in my limited knowledge was basically pouring out some wine on to the ground. Now, its kind of a cool symbol of giving something up to God because-have you ever tried to scoop up a drink when you've accidentally spilled it ( let's say something precious like baby formula)?-its pretty well near impossible. So, the picture Paul is painting is here is that he's willing to literally spill out his life, "waste" it, not get it back, give it up completely for the Philippians. Wow.

I think its the idea that its "wasteful" which I kind of talked about in my last blog post. I seem to put way to much importance on whether its "worth it" not whether its just something that would honor God in doing it. Something to think about.

Anyway, back to the chapter. Like I was saying, after seeing the living example of this guy "E" I think I understand what verses 3 and 4 mean a lot more:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interests of others.
613 miles.
So what's my application for this week? First let me tell you about this last week....I think that I was able to encourage someone else, in fact, God was very cool and allowed me to help someone on a particularly awful day: Army Packing Up All Your Stuff Day. So I was grateful for that answered prayer. And I was also able to tell someone who's been an encouragement to ME, "thank you"...but honestly it was not as well as I would have liked. It ended up being over text message and that's about as special as toast. But I'll try to do better on that one.
Ok, so this week...this week I feel like the study as shown me a lot about just HOW un-servant like I am. And that deep down, I am CONSTANTLY counting the cost rather than just diving in headfirst to love and serve others. So, this week I'm going to specifically do something that gave me a bad attitude all last week! More of my time ( and sadly money) to Brett's work environment. I'm going to stop there with the details because I don't really want to talk about it much here, but that should be enough for you to keep me accountable to doing it!!

Alright! What did you guys think of Philippians 2? And those of you who didn't write up a chapter 1 biggie! Would still love you thoughts on either chapter just link them up here! :-)

October 13, 2011

Philippians Chapter 1....again

So, before I get started on Chapter 2, I have to share with you something that I got from my chapter 1 study this week...sometimes I'm a slow learner and I have to ruminate on things for longer than just a week-which is why I'm digging this study so much! No time restraints! Go at your own speed! It just all about reading the Bible and thinking about it a little more deeply! ( how many more exclamation marks can I use in a paragraph?)

So, last we I mentioned that I went and read Acts 28 which gives kind of the surrounding story of what was going on in Paul's life when he wrote the letter to the Philippians-anyway, it says in verse 30 that "He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him..And now thinking back to what he wrote in Chapter 1 he says that he was rejoicing in his circumstances as long as it meant that the Gospel got out to people! So I just now connected the fact that he was not only in prison, and not only still preaching from prison ( which had to be limiting to say the least) but he was paying for it OUT OF POCKET!
Ok, so lets talk about money for a second because its here that I need some altering of mind. Basically, I think I could almost be as chill as Paul about his circumstances being less than stellar until I realized that I was going to have to pay for it! Sad but true. I would have started complaining immediately. And in realizing this, I am realizing that I may not be trusting God with our finances as much as I would like. Especially finances that we give away.....key word "away". As in no longer under my rule. I need to be ok with God deciding to use that money ANY way He sees fit...even if its something unpractical like paying for a prison sentence that seemingly limits ones ability to get around and preach...yeah. That's a good example of it not making sense in human terms but making perfect sense in God terms. In fact, after going back and re-reading this paragraph-I need to let go of my "rule" of ALL our money and resources! I am waaay too controlling!

Stay tuned for Chapter 2....

Take a moment

This morning Ransom woke up with a runny nose. A seriously runny nose. And whether its allergies, teething or a real live cold we all know that where there's snot there are germs and so I had to sadly cancel my afternoon plans with some lovely lovely ladies ( and their daughters).
A serious BUM. ER.

And I was all pouty and such and when I put Ransom down for his nap instead of dusting and sweeping like I TOLD myself I would...I plopped down to blog read.

And I read today's blog post by a lovely lady Jeanne who I have known my whole life....( you know when you get older and you realize that your childhood playmate's parents are really cool and you wish that they'd like you and be friends with you too? Anyway, that's how I feel about this lovely lady.) And she shared a video that she had done for Mikeschair's new album.
Now, let me just say this, I remember being a little kid and hearing what was happening to her son, I remember the prayers, the tears. But it resonated all over again today. I sat on my couch and cried.

Friends, we live in a fallen world, a world full of sorrow and sometimes things happen that are SO mysterious that the only place to find an answer is at Jesus's Feet. I loved how Jeanne shares how she realized the only way to get through what was happening was to go to the One who had let it happen in the first As soon as she said it I remembered back to our own Heartbreaks and I knew exactly what she meant. Its probably one of the HARDEST challenges of my life, but I am so grateful for the beauty that such sorrows have taught us. Please watch this video. Currently words are failing me. I pray its an encouragement today!

October 07, 2011

Philippians Chapter 1

So, to set the scene. I have a headache. I found out today my babysitter had an accident has two torn ligaments and a sprained femur....and has to have surgery next week. ( and of course my first thought was THERE GOES MY DATE ON SATURDAY not to mention all the other sitting jobs I have lined up with her).  Ransom continues his crazy nap schedule today by only sleeping 45 min. ALL DAY....and I'm WORN OUT.

And that's the state that I entered into Philippians 1. Awesome!! But, seriously, its at times like these when my head is ANYWHERE but the right place that I NEED to be running to my Bible. This is the time for me to have some Jesus-work done....

So the first verse that "popped" for me was verse six:

6And I am sure of this, that he who began(H) a good work in you. will bring it to completion at(J) the day of Jesus Christ.

Incidentally, I copied that straight from where I can literally click on the cross references and they take me right to other verses in the bible on the same topic. Sweet!

Which, I really liked this one:

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Ps 138: 8 

I think I've always found oddly comforting in verse 6 of Phil 1, because it puts in blunt terms that which I am already very aware of: "I'm not done yet."
If I were in the oven, you'd want to stick me back in.  The older I get the more I realize just HOW much grace I still need from Jesus ( case in point: me thinking about myself and not my poor sweet babysitter with the messed up knee.)  BUT there's a promise there. A promise that God is at work in me ( as long as I let Him!) and He's gonna stay there until His work is done!! I am so grateful that He does not give up on us, that while He does, indeed, know just what kind of awfulness goes on in my head, He's fully capable and willing to help me become a better become more like Him. 

The next verse that struck me was verse 12:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 

This read through I actually went and read specifically about Paul's imprisonment in the Book of Acts:
 Chapter 28 and how Paul lived in Rome ( under house arrest) for two years at his own expense talking to anyone that would come and visit him and talk to him about Jesus. I think it helped give me greater perspective. I know it might be a bit geeky but it helps me to get the "story" behind what Paul's writing his letter.  And I think what reeeeally stopped me in my tracks was what he said about how him being imprisoned there had caused the Truth about Jesus to spread-sometimes because of people being sincerely inspired to share and other times because of some other mean-spiritedness in the person...either way Paul was happy that the Gospel was shared. Ummm...wait. Hold the phone!! You mean to tell me Paul didn't care what the motives of a person where as long as the Truth was shared?!? And this is how I need to be too?!?
Well, then I've wasted a LOT of energy in the past trying to figure out if the people around me were sincere or not!! I've also wasted a lot of energy judging others on how they like to tell others about Jesus, or how they show love...I'm a judger-mcjudger-pants.
The bottom line is if I cared a little less about what other people are doing and saying ( and thinking too..if I could some how figure that out) and spent more time trying hard to share what I know about Jesus and what He's done in my life with people. Well....yeah. That'd be better.
I am sincerely humbled by how little amount of credit Paul wants for himself ( I'd be all like, look at me and how God's using me! ME! ME! ME!) and how He give ALL glory to God.

And now on to verse 21-26:
For to me to live is Christ ( meaning sacrifice and suffering) , and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh ( as in on Earth), that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and to be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain (here on Earth) is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 

I love these verses for several reasons. First once again, it shows Paul's devotion to the people in Philipi  that he was willing to keep on going because he knew that it would be better for THEM. The other great thing here is Paul's obvious desire to be with Jesus. 
I don't think I think about Heaven enough. But, really, the thought of being with Jesus is an encouragement and puts everything of today into perspective.....

I actually had to take a break writing this post last night because some things came up, and then in the middle of the night, the guy staying with us got up to take a shower and head to the airport...but left his phone alarm that had woken him up ( at 2am) on...and so, I spent a good ten minutes around 2:30am trying to find a guys phone in the midst of all his stuff while it goes off SO LOUDLY you could hear it in our room...all while he's happily in the shower. 
I tell you that, because I am in desperate need of perspective. My thoughts, my priorities they are all very "worldy". They have so much to do with just getting through today, when really I should have my heart and mind so transfixed on Jesus that that stuff is but a blip. I mean, don't get me wrong. I feel sure that even Paul would have been annoyed by that cell phone. ( haha!) but I think he would have used that hour or so after when he was lying in bed, heart still racing, to pray and spend time with his Best Friend....I want to be more like that. 

Ok, so this is getting super long! But I've got ONE MORE thought, and this one is where my application comes into play!! 
Its from verses 27-28,  ... that I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your. 

I realize more and more just how SUPER IMPORTANT it is to have at least one person who you're walking side by side with it does indeed help you to stand firm and to keep striving and to not be frightened by things that come up against you ( even if its just the day to day stuff...) and so while my first thought in how to "apply" this particular idea to my life was to just in a very general way, I want to make sure its something I can quantify to you next week. So, instead, I've decided to specifically tell someone who's been of a particular encouragement in my Faith lately just HOW much they've encouraged me...and then I will also meet up with someone who I know I've neglected in the same way and hopefully I can be an encouragement to them!! I'll let you know how I do!