Thursday, November 29, 2012

When Thankfulness Is Not Easy!

Sometimes being thankful comes hard.  Maybe it is hard for you to be thankful because of the circumstances you find yourself in or the cards you have been dealt in life.  I have personally found it very hard to be thankful this month.  When your life has been turned upside down and shaken to pieces, it is hard to find level ground let alone a thankful heart.

My hubby has been without a job for 3 weeks now.  I don't write that for you to feel sorry, I write it so you understand where I am at. It is scary.  I am trying really hard not to worry and take it one day at a time.  That is hard stuff for this recovering worry addict.  I have to keep reminding myself that...I have everything I need for today.  I know that God has our need in the palm of His hand; but there are many times I don't feel He has it under control and I want to control my situation.

I came across this in my devotional last week...

When you give God thanks regardless of your feelings, He gives us JOY regardless of your circumstances.-Sarah Young "Jesus Calling"

Thanksgiving morning my feelings were pretty low...weepy feelings.  John came in and wrapped his arms around me and asked me what I could be thankful for?  That was all I needed for a thankful heart to flow.  One of my kids came in and I said, "I'll be thankful for her!"  I then realized how thankful I was for my whole family.  As I began to speak out thanks....a thankful heart began to overflow.  God reminded me that no matter what we face, there is plenty to be thankful for.  I needed to get my eyes off of our circumstances; because God alone is enough to be thankful.  

We all face seasons in our lives.  I began singing the "Desert Song" by Hillsong this morning before I started my devotions.  

Verse 1:

This is my prayer in the desert

When all that's within me feels dry

This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:

And this is my prayer in the fire

In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames


And I will bring praise

I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice

I will declare

God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:

And this is my prayer in the battle

When triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand


All of my life

In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:

This is my prayer in the harvest

When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

I have felt that I have been walking through the desert lately....more like walking in circles in the desert.  It has been hard to worship like I have been able to worship in other seasons of my life.  But, I know that I have to keep walking on this journey.  God knows where I am...I am not lost.  He is always guiding me.  Leading me. Loving me.

I think God was preparing my heart for my devotions this morning with that song.  I later read this from my devotional this morning...
"However, I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weakness were glaringly evident.  Through the aridity of those desert marches, I have drawn you closer and closer to Myself.  You have discovered flowers of Peace blossoming in the most desolate places.  You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work.  You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts." -Sarah Young "Jesus Calling

Isaiah 58:11

Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
Maybe you find yourself like me in the dessert, in the fire, or right in the middle of the battle.  Cry out to the Lord.  Sing His praise.  Thank Him for what He has done for you even if you don't feel like it.  If everything is crumbling around you...Christ has saved you from your sin, God loves you.  And that alone is enough reason to be thankful.  Let thankfulness stir your heart and you will find there is peace in God. 

The last part of that song (verse 4) reminded me that I will be in a good season once again.  But we are filled up to be emptied out.  We are vessels that are used by God.  He fills us...He empties us.  When we realize that we are not our own, we are His....His blessings can flow through us more.  We are open to receive all God has for us then we are open to be poured out.  All of God's goodness can fill us and all that breaks His heart can be emptied.   

I want thankfulness to flow through me no matter how I feel.  I want to live and breathe Jesus, so that others will see how much He loves them.  I want to hold nothing back that would stop up God flowing through my life and emptying all of me that does not bring him glory.... no matter what season I may find myself dessert or in harvest.  Who I am is not what I am going through.  

There is some reading this that face more difficult struggles then what I am going through.  I have come to realize that and put that in the right light.  Maybe, you have lost a loved one, facing a sickness,  worrying about your child, been abused, stuck in addiction,  jobless much longer than us,  without food,  homeless, depressed, feel unloved, feel lost, or just without hope the list could go on and on; no matter what it is, God loves you so much.  He always has and He always will.  Let that bring hope and joy to your circumstance.  He has a plan and it is for your good...even though you can't see what that good is yet.  He will meet you right there in your need and He will provided for you....just trust in Him and see what happens.

"All of my life

In every season

You are still God
I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship!"


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Are You Ready?

What do you talk to three teenage nephews about....well, tonight it was a very serious conversation about the wellbeing of their aunt.  Isn't that lovely?   They shared with me the importance of being prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.  I am so concerned that I took some notes and decided that I better share my new found knowledge about the living dead.  Apparently, I am very unprepared and ignorant about these Zombies who are inevitably going to take over the world.  

Some things that EVERYone should know about Zombies
  • Zombies cannot swim or drive
  • You can never be 100% sure that someone is not a Zombie.
  • Because you can not be sure if family member or friend has turned into a Zombie it would be difficult for you to eliminate them.  Don't be tempted to take them along with you.  
  • They sadly do not have a kryptonite...I think they are wrong about that.
  • Singing "Thriller" will have no effect on them, not even the cool dance moves.
  • Look for bite marks.
  • Zombies are always hostile..... they will eat you.  
  • The only way to slay a Zombie is to take out it's brain. Hummm I have more questions about that....maybe my nephew the Zombie expert will have to help me further understand how one goes about that.  All the ways they mentioned now do not seem to make sense.  LOL  I guess I need more training.

Here are some things that I need to have on hand when the Zombies come and get me.
  • gun 
  • boat
  • food supplies
  • pink inner tube in case the boat sinks(It doesn't have to be pink; but I asked the boys if it would be ok? They didn't seem to care and neither will the zombies.)
  • baseball bat
  • a long sword (a katana but a kris would be better and more effective.  I just wikipedia I know why those would be more adventagious)
  • radio
  • oranges (so I don't get scurvy on my boat)
  • sock for a puppet friend/weapon
  • disposable camera (so I can make a taser out of it or take nice pictures)
  • paper clip (to complete said camera taser)
  • duct tape
  • a possible vampire (cause if I have to choose I might be better off as a vampire)
  • copious amounts of hummus
  • and a toothbrush
They helped me come up with a plan of survival.
  • gather all the necessary needs on the above list
  • get on the boat (I should probably learn how to drive one, I guess a row boat will do)
  • row to a deserted island in the tropics
  • live off the land and avoid Zombies at all cost
  • Lastly, I should not take my nephews...they most likely will have all turned into ZOMBIES!
With all of that I might survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

My nephews are the coolest...they just love to take care of their dear old auntie!  However, it may have been too late...
Yes, I was Zombified a few months ago!
You never can be 100% sure.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Ornament Reveal

Ta Daaaaa! It is our 2012 ornaments!  And man, our ornaments really show our personalities! We had a blast picking them out this year and of course the last one to pick one out was our oldest daughter.  So without further ado, here are our picks!

Here is mine.  I love all things beautiful and snowy white at Christmas.  I love the artistic side of this you see how it looks like frost is on it?!  I love it!
 My son, of course, loved finding the monster truck ornaments.  Hahahahaha he picked the Grave Digger...a little creepy for Christmas in my opinion.  He was also mad that there was a string on the top of it.  He wants to play with it not look at on the tree.  LOL

My middle girl likes all things cool.  She likes the glass ornaments.  I think it is because of how the Christmas lights twinkle behind them.  They sure are breakable; but man are they pretty.  

 Okay, my husband loves bacon...and his pick shows his undying love for it in such a silly way.  I have bacon and eggs hanging right in the middle of my tree.  Hahahahahahahahahaha  I secretly think he tries to pick the weirdest one just to get me going....just a guess...but I think it is true!

Finally after much searching,  my beautiful indecisive almost teenager picked out food.  Yup, a doughnut!  Get is squishy like the sweet treat too.  It is weird!  But she loves it!  
So yup, those are our 2012 ornament picks.....too funny!  It is great seeing how we decided on an ornament that we just have to have on our tree. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmassy Birthday!

My sister's birthday is today. We had a wonderful day celebrating!

First stop....Zhender's, in Frankenmuth, for chicken birthday dinner!

We ate far too much yummy food!  It was awesome.  Of course, at Zehnder's you end your chicken dinner with ice cream with a toy animal on top!
One of our favorite things! Dad is looking good.

After we stuffed our tummies, we went to Bronner's the biggest Christmas store in the world to pick out our yearly ornaments!  We will reveal our picks in an upcoming blog.  

We had a good laugh over the Christmas bride and groom tree!
So many beautiful ornaments to choose from!

After enough Christmas to get us through to next year, we went to Auntie's favorite place on the planet...The Cheese Haus in Frankenmuth.  Of course she bought her favorite...cheese curds.   She was so happy in cheese heaven!

Then to our house for cake, presents, and a classic Christmas movie, Home Alone.  We could not have had a more perfect and fun day!  We hope she had a special day and felt so much love from all of us.  Next year, she will be spending her birthday somewhere else on this earth as she will be on her year long missions trip.  We are so excited and proud of her; but we are just going to miss her so much.  Hopefully, this birthday was full of enough memories to carry her through her next.  We love you, Jenn, more than words could ever express!  May this coming year be more blessed than ever before! 

Numbers 6:24-26

New International Version (NIV)
24 “‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

He Fails Us Not!

Romans 8: 38-39
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

On face book, I posted this song.  I wanted to post here to remind me and maybe to encourage you that no matter what we are going through...God does not fail us.  I think the words of the song remind us that there is nothing that we could ever do to separate us from the love of God...not our failure, not our worry, not our lost-ness, not our sin, not our shame, not our mistakes, not our suffering, not our secrets, not the hate we feel, not the terror we face, not our darkness, nor our doubt, not our even our despair, not even death.  Nothing can keep God from chasing after us and loving us.  He will not fail you.  Say out loud what you are going through.  Once you say it, then shout, "He fails me not!" 

Failure doesn't phase you.
Worry doesn't win.
Lost doesn't leave you afraid to start again.
Our sin doesn't shock you.
Our shame doesn't shame you at all.
Mistakes do not move you.
Terror doesn't tame.
Death doesn't doom you to life in the grave.
Our suffering doesn't scare you.
Our secrets won't surprise you at all.
At all.

There is nothing above you.
There is nothing beyond you.
There is nothing that you can't do.
There is no one beside you.
There is no one that's like you.
There is nothing that you can't do.
Whatever will come, we'll rise above.
You fail us not, You fail us not.
No matter the war, our hope is secure.
You fail us not, You fail us not.
You fail us not.

Hatred doesn't hide you.
Evil doesn't ail.
Despair can't disguise you and tell you that you fail.
Our doubt doesn't daunt you.
Our darkness won't defeat you at all.
At all.

There is nothing above you.
There is nothing beyond you.
There is nothing that you can't do.
Whatever will come, we'll rise above.
You fail us not, You fail us not.
No matter the war, our hope is secure.
You fail us not, You fail us not.
Whatever will come, we'll rise above.
You fail us not, You fail us not.
No, You fail us not.
You fail us not. not.

You are bigger than the battle
You are bigger than the battle
You are bigger than the battle
has ever been! ever been!
-1000 generations

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Around the World!

Yup, that is what my sister is going to do next year.  She will be going on a year long missions trip.  11 countries, 11 months on the World Race!  She has already begun blogging about it.  Go check it out and support her if you can.

I will even share some of our perspective here and some of her post.

We are so proud of her.  She amazes us every day!  And like one of the comments I left there...We are going to miss you terribly; but are cheering you on fervently!  Godspeed Sis!

Here is her first post...
I feel it is quite difficult for any person to be found wanting.  Here is where God has led me.  He has had me on a journey to lose myself completely to be found in Him.  Last January, I was reading through the gospels and the most significant verse that for some reason stood out to me was Luke 5:11, “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. “ They made it sound so easy.  Is it really that easy?  I couldn’t understand at that time how much God wanted me to get it.  The day before my dad had his stroke on Mother’s Day of 2012, I felt God speaking to my heart to trust Him even when I would lose all.  It didn’t frighten me at the moment, but the next day started a series of watching things slip away from my life.  Thus began an incredible and painful journey of trusting in Him and watching His footsteps right there along the way.  In August, I heard about a journey that a young girl would take to several countries with just a backpack and a lot of trust in God.  I was instantly intrigued.  I began to pray that if He opened the doors, I would walk through them.  That is exactly what happened. 

Next September of 2013, I will be traveling to several countries with a backpack on my back and a lot of trust in my heart that God will use me to deliver the gospel to “the least of these” to share in their joy, suffering and bring hope.  I’m excited to live a Luke 10-likefaith for a time and to share that journey in hopes that your faith too will be encouraged.

My mom said I was always curious.  I know it too.  I was the kid back in the early 80's that would have benefitted from one of those kiddie-leashes.  I was also that kid that rolled around underneath the pews at church ending up near the baptismal or the alter or some woman's ankles diving into her purse, but no where near my mom quietly sitting and coloring.  I was a good kid, but curiosity always got me into trouble. 

If you asked me 4 years ago if I would like to go on this trip, after much consideration, I would kindly say no.  The fear would be overwhelming.  I will not lie, that fear at times right now is overwhelming, but something feels bigger.  I believe the call feels stronger and louder.  My curiosity of a great God overwhelms me more than my fear.  I so desperately want to see what He will do in my heart, in the world and here at home.  For some reason the call to find out and solve my curiosity is to leave all.  It’s the age old question, “what if?”

I’m going to find out. -Jennifer

Go check out some more here!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012 Kid's Christmas List

I love posting my kids Christmas list; because it is fun to look back at old ones and seen how they have grown in their choices.  I also love to see what crazy things they pick out!

Drum roll please.......
So, here is the lists for this year....

The 12 year old list

Orange Purse

On the list again

DS Game -  Super Princess Peach for Nintendo DS

Craft stuff like: Duct tape, boxes, yarn, and colorful beads

The 9 year old list (I left it just as she wrote it...cause it is just too cute)

Last but not least....
Big roll of buble rap
My 4 year old
Anything Cars, Toy Story, Super Heroes, or Thomas and we are good!
These cars
Toy Story


Some mom choices...
New sippy cups
Just because I think he will like this

For his wall, decal
New bedding for his new bed