Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending 2011

My poor neglected blog.

Although my one & only post for the whole month of December was on the 2nd, 
there is hardly a day that passes that I don't wish I was posting 
some life-changing, earth-shattering blog.
{Ha ... I'd like to do that, just once!}

So, in the fashion that will totally fit right in with this entire month, 
I will attempt to share with you my closing thoughts for 2011.
I'll have to be quick though ... it's 11:38 & counting!

Oh boy ... what a month this has been.

This year has been one of many changes ... some good, some not so good.
But through it all, God has been faithful.

I've found myself, my husband, my family the object of many conversations ...
& the subject of many a Facebook status & comment.
Fun?  Not so much.

I've felt the sting of rejection ... from family & friends.
Tough?  Absolutely.

We've weathered through job changes ... structuring & restructuring.
Testing of our faith?  Oh yes!

Our sons got their driver's license.
Nerves on edge?  Yes x a million!

The hardest part of all, watching my precious friend suffer the loss of her 20 yr old
daughter in an auto accident ...
Seeing my sons cry over the loss of their friend.
Words can't even begin to describe the sorrow.

But through it all, God has been faithful!

We began a new church work & God has blessed abundantly.
There is not much that's more rewarding than seeing spiritual growth among 
fellow believers.
Hearing the testimonies of how God is working in lives is so encouraging.
To God be the Glory for the great things He has done!!

We had a wonderful week's vacation in South Carolina, 
one of our most favorite places ever.
So grateful for that opportunity to make memories with the one's I love most.

Through all of life's ups & downs, we've grown closer as a family.
That's a blessing that cannot be measured.

But, to start this new year off right, we're looking forward with a fresh vision ...
and asking God for His blessings.

My prayer for 2012 ...
{I've been praying this for a few night's already ... getting in to practice}

1}  I pray that my husband James is saturated with the anointing & presence of God, 
as he leads our home, disciples me & our sons, & shepherds our congregation.
I am asking God for a special outpouring on his life ... & trusting God to bring it on!!

2}  I pray for our sons ... for direction in their studies, careers & ministries, 
& the for future wives that God has picked especially for them.
I ask God for His continued protection & guidance during these teenage years.
I know He has a plan.

3}  I pray for God to continue molding me in this amazing ministry that He's called
me in to ... my ministry as a wife & mother, a calling most noble, indeed.
I ask for Proverbs 31 & Titus 2 to become alive in my life greater than ever before.

4} And lastly, I pray that God will help me find my 'voice' for blogging ... 
'my words,' if you will.
I want to effectively communicate on a more spiritual level this year.
I pray for boldness & courage to share topics that would be a help & encouragement 
to others  ... & the strength to endure the potential backlash that comes from others
who don't see things eye-to-eye ;)

I believe in prayer.
I believe God hears when I call out to Him.
And I believe when 2013 rolls around, I can look back at this blog & see how 
God answered my humble petitions.
He is ever faithful.

To all of you, my bloggie friends & followers ... 'And a Happy New Year!'

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 30 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

I totally enjoyed this season of gratefulness!
These 30 days of thinking & preparing for this blogging commitment truly did
increase a grateful spirit.

The final day of the month of November is always a special one ...
it's James' birthday.

This is James on his 2nd birthday

He had already fussed a bit about the idea of doing anything extra, & it turned out
that he had to work later than usual.
So, we just opted to have a 'normal' family evening here at home.
Believe it or not, we didn't even have a spectacular dinner.
We had left-overs!!
I had baked a ham the evening before, so I fried some of that up & made
homemade biscuits & gravy & a skillet of scrambled eggs, one of James' very favorite meals.

We all gave him our cards & gifts ... & that was that.
Not a big 'to do' at all ... just the way he likes it.

James is my perfect match.
Our 'story' is the greatest prayer that God ever answered in my life.
I will always be incredibly thankful for James ... & hope to never live one day without him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 23-29 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Day 23-29!
Just looking at that makes me giggle!!
I did so well with my 'I'm ganna blog everyday ... for 30 days straight' aspiration ...
up til day 23, that is!
I had every intention ... til my laptop kind of konked out.
{I am NOT thankful for that, but I AM thankful that I did not lose all my stuff on it!
It's all able to be retrieved, but will be out of commission til it's repaired.}

So, this will be a mass 'I'm thankful' kind of blog ...a catch up, of sorts.

Day 23 ~ Thanksgiving eve
If one is thinking of Black Friday shopping, one should surely shop on Thanksgiving eve!
Why go to the grocery earlier in the week when it's NOT all crazy, when you can go
just a few hours before Turkey Day & witness the food frenzy!
I heard one husband warning his wife over the phone that she better be sure that's all
she forgot cause he was not coming back out!
He probably should've tossed an extra turkey or two in the cart, just in case.
I made it home unscathed, fully prepped for the madness of Black Friday.

Day 24 ~ Thanksgiving Day
This year, my sister had the dinner at her house.
The food was delicious, as always.
We have much to be thankful for.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Day 25 ~ Black Friday
I'm usually out in all the chaos, & was this year too, only with a later start than usual.
I did some online shopping before I left the house at around 5:15 am.
The only 'must have' was a camera that I've had my eye on.
With a $100 savings, it was worth getting out for.
What was different this year about Black Friday shopping was that so many stores
had been open since 10p & midnight.
By the time I hit the stores at 5a, they weren't bad at all!
The mall was less crowded than it would be on a typical Saturday.
I got everything I intended to & met James for breakfast at Flap Jacks by 10a.

Day 26 ~ Thanksgiving Saturday
We traveled to Connersville for dinner with the Penningtons.
This has been our usual tradition since we've been married.
We enjoyed visiting with family ... & lovin' on sweet baby Brystol.
One of our favorite things about the trip, we love seeing all the Christmas lights
on our drive home.

Isn't she perfect?  She's modeling her Shabby Bowtique flower headband


James & Brystol

Day 27 ~ The Lord's Day Sunday
What used to be our most hectic day {one that certainly didn't feel like a day of rest},
has now become our most restful day.
I am thankful for Sundays!
Due to our current facility, we only meet for worship one time a week ... on Sunday.
We set up at 10, begin worship at 10:30, usually dismiss for our fellowship dinner at 12:30
& by 3p, we are heading home.
We spend the rest of the day resting & enjoying each other's company.
When Monday rolls around, we feel refreshed, both spiritually & physically, & ready
to start a new week.

Day 28 ~ {Cyber} Monday
We were ready to get back into our regular routine yesterday ... school & house work.
While it nice to take a break for holiday's, getting back to the day-to-day schedule is good.
Everything is cleaned up & back in place, with the exception of the fridge.
We're still working on leftovers ... pies, candies, & fudge.
The scales will probably groan a little louder than normal over the next few weeks ;)
Between schooling, vacuuming & dusting, I fit it some cyber-shopping.
I purchased 8 items at great prices & no shipping fees!
Can't get much more convenient than that!

Day 29 ~ {day before my honey's birthday} Tuesday
I got up early today to do some work on the computer before time for school.
I'm thankful for modern conveniences ... a warm bed to crawl out of,
heat, lights, technology.
It's been raining for days & I've yet to see one drop leaking through my ceiling.
The comforts of home, 2 Christmas trees, a candle glowing on my desk,
music playing on my computer ...
these things that make my morning cozy are things I don't want to take for granted.
I've been blessed far more than I deserve.

our little kitchen Christmas tree

Today, the boys & I will scheme about how to make James' birthday special.
He deserves far more than we could give him.
Since this is his last birthday in the 30s, maybe we should give him permission to say
"39 & holding!"

For all my blessings, great & small, I am thankful for them all~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 22 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

These will be the cutest lil' things to hit the dessert table!

Super easy to prepare!
Here are the ingredients you need:

mini Nutter Butter cookies, separated
peanut butter
Hershey Kisses
chocolate chips

Add a smoodge of peanut butter to adhere the cookie to the kiss ...
& again to hold the chocolate chip on top!

They're not only cute, they are yummo!
According to my friend, Jody {who knows her chocolate & peanut butter},
they are the perfect mix of both.

     Perfect lil' treat just in time for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 21 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Thankful for motivation & accomplishment!


I've been in a big way of cleaning out, throwing away, taking things to the consignment
store & donating to Goodwill!
I've cleaned out the garage & several closets.

For the last couple days, I've been tackling a large tote labeled 'my music box' that was
full of sheet music, cds, & binders filled with instructional material.
{I used to give piano lessons & was the choir director for many years at the church
I attended.}
To say I had amassed lots of material would be an understatement.
I cleaned out my piano bench & another storage basket, sorting & organizing
everything that I needed to keep.
All in all, I think I threw out 20 larger binders!
It's amazing how wonderful it feels to simplify.

This is an especially good time to de-clutter ... right before Christmas.
More than likely, you will be bringing some new items into your home from gift
exchanges, especially if you have small children.
The new toys will have to have a spot in the toy box.

Here are a few simple tips to help take control of the clutter:

1}  Make a list

Write down your plan of action & get to work on it, marking one thing off at a time.
Seeing your goal on paper {& your progress as you complete each task} can be just
the right motivation.

2}  Give yourself a time in which to complete the project

Don't kill yourself to do it all in one day, but set a feasible goal & stay on target

3}  Recruit helpers

Your children can be a big help! 
Give them age-appropriate tasks & rewards when they thoroughly follow through.

4}  Give your children a box or a bag & send them to their rooms to find 10 things
{or more} to get rid of.

Doing this often helps to minimize clutter.
Also, have them keep drawers emptied of items that are too small or no longer used.

5}  Throw away & donate liberally!

They say you use 20% of your 'stuff' 80% of the time {& vice versa use 80% of
your stuff 20% of the time}.
If you haven't used it in a year, chances are, it's safe to go ahead & get rid of it.
Don't keep hanging on to things that are only cluttering your space.

Put out several bins or bags marked for trash, donation, garage sale, etc.
As you are sorting & organizing, place items into the appropriate bin.
The next step is just as important.
Instead of scooting the boxes & bags into the corner, take them where they need to
go immediately!
Drop off the donations right away.

Clearing out & getting rid of things somehow makes you feel lighter ...
kind of like peeling off layers of clothing.
I think you even sleep better.

Day 20 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Today, I'm thankful for the little things.
This past week has been full of them.

I discovered I had forgotten to pick up an ingredient for a recipe late on Saturday night.
I sent Gunnar to go it get for me ... & he came home with these too!

Talk about melting momma's heart.

While the guys were on their hunting trip on Friday, I drove down to spend the day
with my beautiful sister-in-law & aunt-in-law, Christine & Lisa.
There's a bit of a drive between us, so we don't get to see each other often enough.
We spent the day just talking & catching up ... & I got to have plenty of quality time
lovin' on my new little niece.
Isn't she adorable?!

We had top-notch entertainment from Lisa's little guys.
They sang to me 'O Christmas Tree' & a brand new song, "I Am Da Tiga" ...
their interpretation of "Eye of the Tiger."
They were lots of fun.

While cleaning out my piano bench on Saturday, I found a card from my precious
friend, Stacy.
I remember how much I loved it when she gave it to me ...
& all this time later {several years}, I love it just as much.

It says, "If you need to lean awhile, I'm here."
Is there anymore that needs to be said?
I think not.
She's been the most loyal friend I've ever had ... & I count her as a true blessing from God.

I think this quote sums things up just right:

"Enjoy the little things ... for one day you may look back
& realize they were the big things."
~Robert Brault


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 19 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Thankful for an evening out with a treasured friend.

Gina & I have known each other our whole lives.
There's only 6 months between us.

Gina's dad pastored the church that my family attended, so we spent countless
Wednesdays & Sundays together.
We were always in the same Sunday School class, went to the same youth camps,
& the same slumber parties.
We played babies & barbies together {she says I cut her barbie's hair},
talked about boys {complete with code names like MAS WAG},
& who we'd marry someday {we surely thought it would be E.D & S.S},
& took crazy pics of each other {Fiero & silly string}.
Oh the memories & funny stories I share with this girl.

We grew up to be mommies ourselves & visited each other when we had our babies ...
and now we are watching them grow up as very close friends.
They say they feel like brothers & sisters.

Not only that, our husbands are great friends!
They work together every day & still like each other ;)

Gina & I needed 'talk' time, so we met for dinner on Thursday.
She was just what the DR ordered.
What a blessing to be able to pour out your heart to a friend who will cry with you,
laugh with you, keep all your secrets & give good advice.
I am so thankful for her.

Day 17 & 18 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Hunting 'stuff' has taken over my dining room ... completely taken over my dining room!

James & the boys have moved all their hunting gear to the dining room so it's ready to go
out the door for their early morning deer hunting trips.

James saves a couple vacation days to spend with the boys in the woods.
Course they want to bag the big one, but they have a good time even when they
come home empty handed.

I am thankful for a dad who loves spending time with his boys ...
and the strong 'manhood' bond that comes from hunting.
They are taking dominion & making provision!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day16 ~ 30 Days of Thanks


You cannot know how thankful I am for this!

Since Sunday, Nov. 6, I've had limited to no hearing in my left ear.

I've had no pain, no fever, no symptoms ... just no hearing!

At first, it was just kind of odd.
As the days passed, it became more annoying.
And as of a couple days ago, I was convinced that I was suffering from a brain tumor
or something equally as life threatening.
After much prodding from family & friends, I decided to do something that I rarely do ...
& that was make an appointment to see the doctor.

The nurse entered all my info {I can't hear out of my ear!} into her laptop &
then took a look with the handy-dandy ear thingie with the light on the end of it.
She immediately said that I had a very small ear canal & very far back in the canal,
my ear was plugged.
She said it was so far back that there's no way I could've taken care of it at home.

I told her that several folks had shared stories of wax causing loss of hearing but
due to my love affair with Q-Tips, I was certain that wasn't my problem.
Plus, I had done all the home remedies to ensure that wasn't it.

Guess what she said?!
She said that using Q-Tips was most likely the problem!
Uuuh boy =/

When she came back into the room, she had this ginormous thing that looked like
a turkey baster that had a long plastic tip.
She said she was going to do an ear lavage ... an ear irrigation.
So, for the next 10-15 minutes, she forced an ocean full of warm water into my ear ...
It didn't hurt, just uncomfortable.
She said the force of the water would clear out my ear.
And it did!!

My hearing came back almost instantly ...
& everything seemed SO loud that I thought I may need to put in earplugs
until I adjusted to it!

I had her check the other ear, since this was my once-every-10-year-visit ...
& she said it looked perfectly fine.

By the time my doctor came in, his nurse had me completely fixed up.
All he did was look me over & tell me to STOP using Q-Tips!
After he gave me a thorough explanation of the ear, I was good to go.

Verrrrry thankful to having my hearing back!!!
It could've been something much worse & I am so glad it wasn't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 15 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Peace that passes all understanding ...

That is what I am thankful for today.

James took this on an early morning walk on the Isle of Palms, SC {Oct. '11}

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Doesn't this so perfectly encapsulate our human emotion within the first two lines?
One minute, life can be perfectly peaceful.

And in the very next breath, that picture of serenity can be completely erased.
Catastrophe, sadness & sorrow can rock our world without a moments notice.

I am impacted most by the last half of this timeless hymn ...
whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Whatever my lot ... whatever.

I am reminded of Sunday's sermon.
James taught on thankfulness.

In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
concerning you.   {Thess. 5:18}

In everything.

He concluded with the account of Job.

Loss after loss.
Personal tragedy greater than many of us will ever experience.

Yet the scripture says Job worshipped.

"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down
upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb,
and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD." {Job 1:20-22}

And the last verse says that during all his unspeakably horrific circumstances,
Job did not sin nor did he charge God foolishly.

I felt so challenged in my spirit ...
challenged to stop all my murmuring & complaining ...
about issues, that when compared to Job's, seem so petty & trivial.

I felt challenged to be filled with thanksgiving at ALL times ...
good or bad...
& when it's bad, to look for ways to be thankful ... even more so then.

James pointed out in the sermon that if I really believe God is sovereign & in control
of all things, then my murmuring is essentially pointed towards Him.

When I'm dissatisfied & disappointed, if I reallllly believe He's in control,
then I'm dissatisfied with Him.

If I really believe that ALL things work together for the good to them that love the Lord,
then I will bless the Lord at ALL times ...
& His praise shall continually be in my mouth!

What a perspective on being thankful.

I don't sit around & complain but I also don't give thanks in all things.
I've got some moving up to do.

And for the icing on the cake:

{isn't it just like God to tie it all together for us}

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus. {Philippians 4:6-7}

Day 13 & 14 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Day 13
Sunday, November 13

I love our church, Family Life Assembly, & our sweet little congregation.
Watching them grow in the Lord, well, it's so rewarding!
I can see the Word coming alive in individuals & families.
It's refreshing & gives me such hope for the future!

I love our church logo

Every Sunday, we have a fellowship meal after the church service.
Each family pitches in, bringing delicious dishes to share.
It's hospitality at it's best.
There's more crock pots than you could shake a stick at!

This is a fruit pizza made by Natalie ... & it tasted as good as it looked!

During & after the meal, everyone enjoys a time of fellowship.
The men are usually engaged in a spiritual discussion of some sort ...
& the ladies like to visit, catching up on the week past & sharing plans
for the week to come.
We often find ourselves talking about the things that are near to all of our hearts: 
our homes, husbands & our children ...
how we can better fill our roles as wives & mommas.
We share tips & recipes ... talk about sales & coupons ...
& there's often a mix of laughter & tears.
One thing for certain, I always leave encouraged or inspired after talking
with the sweet ladies of our church.

Family Life Assembly didn't come to be without much prayer & fasting ...
& it's had more than it's share of adversity in these few short months ...
but God is faithful to His word & His call.
I can clearly see His hand at work & I take comfort in knowing that FLA is part
of His master plan.

Day 14
Monday, November 14

Monday is cleaning/chore day at our house.
I only sit down for lunch & supper ... & then fall into bed.
The day is go-go-go from start to finish ... & I usually still have a load or two
of laundry waiting on me Tuesday morning.

It's as I'm cleaning that I easily reflect on how blessed I am.
I've got a bed to make, furniture to dust, carpet to sweep & laundry to fold.

In our Language Arts, we are reading & studying the book The Bronze Bow
by Elizabeth George Speare.
Although the story & main characters are fictional, the storyline follows the
Biblical account of Jesus as he is teaching in Capernaum.

We read today about the home of the main character, Daniel bar Jamin.
It was quite common for the rats to sit in the corners of the house & even a snake once slithered in through the thatched roof.
One of the discussion questions was 'How would you feel about living in a home where
rats & snakes were common?'
This led to a conversation about the homeless & people less fortunate than we are.
Gunnar shared about going to work recently with his dad & seeing an overpass lined underneath with tents, up & down both sides ... a homeless camp, of sorts.

We took time to acknowledge God right then ...  thanking Him for His provision in our lives.
We are abundantly blessed.

Cleaning the house seems a bit less burdensome when you think of the homeless folks
who would just like to have a roof over their heads.

"Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need."
Sarah Bon Breathnach

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 11 & 12 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

There's been a whirlwind of activity around here for the last few days!
It even included this:

That's right ... we got our 1st snow of the season on November 10.

The timing of the snow's arrival at our house was just about perfect.
Just as the boys & I were in the garage getting down all our Christmas decorations,
one of them exclaimed, "It's snowing!!"
And sure enough, it was!
Course, we all had to rush out in it for a second or two ... you know, kinda like we'd
never seen it ever before.
I don't know what it is, but there's just something fun, almost magical,
about that 1st snow.

We didn't get a whole lot, but it did flurry here & there throughout the evening
& left us enough to wake up to on Friday morning.
Never fear though ... this is Indiana!
The forecast is 50s and 60s for the next week ;)

Now on to the other big events around the Pennington place.

I'd been thinking about tackling 2 big chores on James' to-do list.
And I'll be honest, these are chores that I really would like him to keep up with.

I'll also admit that these 2 things have been quite a source of frustration for me.
I'm, by nature, more of an organizer than James & I like things just so-so.
A place for everything & everything in it's place ... that's me.
Guilty as charged.

Part of our problem is that we have no attic space for storage ... & up until last summer,
our neighborhood covenants did not allow storage barns/sheds.
So, our whole life in contained in our house & our garage.
It's only natural that both places are well used ... & well, a mess sometimes.

I can't say exactly what brought about my change of heart.
Maybe it's this season of thanksgiving ... or as one blog put it, thanksLIVING.

It's important to me to really focus on Thanksgiving during the month of November.
Not just to anticipate turkey & Black Friday shopping ... but to reflect on our many
blessings with a grateful heart.
Gratitude has been the topic of morning devotions & during our morning & supper prayers, we've been naming off the things for which we're thankful.

My annual Thanksgiving tradition is to send out beautiful Thanksgiving cards
to special friends & family  ... t0 show our appreciation to those who have impacted
our family throughout the year.
 And it was as I was making out my card list that I got to thinking.
If I were going to put someone at the top of my 'I'm thankful for' list, that spot
would, without a doubt be reserved for James.

He's a wonderful husband ... & the boys couldn't ask for a better dad.
He works so hard everyday, coming home mentally & physically exhausted, but
still leads us in family worship each evening.
In addition to all this, he prepares for Sunday's sermon which he delivers each week.

Oh, he deserves waaayy more than a card ... but he expects nothing at all.
He just loves us ... & is thankful we love him back.

It was right then & there when the idea popped into my head ...
I could clean out the garage & his closet as a way to show him my appreciate
for all he does for us.
{Yes, those are the 2 huge chores that I had been urging James to do!}

So, that's exactly what we did.
We cleaned out/organized James closet AND the garage, as a surprise to him.

When I say we, let me tell you, these 3 sons of ours are workers.
I could not have completed these 2 huge chores as quick as we did without their help.
I mentioned my idea to them at the beginning of the week & they were more than
happy to pitch-in.
We did in 1 day what I had allotted 2 days to do.
The closet & garage cleaned out & organized ... & 12 bags of donations hauled to Goodwill!

James was SO surprised ... I mean really surprised ...
& he said over & over again how much he couldn't believe it!

And for us, we felt so good doing something so big for him.
Nothing compares to the warm feeling you feel inside when you've done a good deed,
out of the goodness of your heart, for someone you love.

And for the icing on the cake, since we had gotten all the Christmas decor down while we were cleaning out the garage ... and since we had a 2nd day set aside for work,
the boys offered to help with decorating the house for Christmas, which is yet another
big undertaking!

With all 4 of us working, we finished almost all of that yesterday!
Here's a peek at the tree.

The boys even hung all the outside lights.
Worth their weight in gold, they are.

All in all, going to bed completely worn out from 2 hard days of work,
especially knowing that we'd surprised James & done something nice for him,
well, it made for a very good night's sleep.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 9 & 10 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

So thankful for the Republican victories in Tuesday's election!
It's exciting to see men with conservative values & principles taking office to lead
not only our city but also those that make up our surrounding communities.

On election day, Garrett & Gunnar worked the polls from 6a-6p.
Afterwards, they were invited to go with Mr. & Mrs. Bates to Franklin College
to await the results of the election.
They were introduced to many of the Republican politicians, including the new
mayor of Franklin.
Although they had previously met the new mayor of Greenwood & had done some
campaign work for him, they were able to meet his family & made friends with several
of his children. 
They had an exciting day & Garrett is looking forward to the possibility of more doors
opening from the connections made.

As if the excitement from Tuesday wasn't enough, on Wednesday, Garrett & Gunnar
find out they made the paper!!

This was snapped by the Daily Journal.
They are on the far left of the picture, holding the Bates sign.

What a wonderful experience this all turned out to be.
We are proud of our sons for volunteering their time in the community.
We see God's hand at work in their lives.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

It's election day!

What an opportunity to exercise a wonderful freedom ...
the freedom to cast your vote!
Furthermore, it's not just an opportunity, it's a responsibility, one that accompanies American citizenship.
Voting is one of the many important duties and privileges we have as Americans.

If you don't like the direction your city or country is moving in, cast your vote.
It's what makes the difference!

Garrett, our oldest son, has always had an interest in history ...
& has an amazing ability to retain it.
American history, World history, Biblical history ... he can rattle off events,
dates, & quotes with no trouble at all.
For the last few years, his interest in politics has grown & he's venturing out a bit
within our community.
James & I, along with Garrett, have been praying for the Lord to give him the right connections & open doors.
We've seen God's hand at work since the beginning of this year & we are so thankful!
We know God has a plan for Garrett {& all of our sons} ... how exciting to see it
begin to unfold.

Today, Garrett & Gunnar are volunteering at the polls.
I snapped this at 5:45 this morning.

Garrett has been working with Ron Bates, Greenwood City Councilman.
He's a Christian man, teaches at a Christian school & a Baptist college.
He's the first man that Garrett met when he attended a town hall meeting.
Coincidence ... ?
We don't think so.

Garrett has also been campaigning for Mark Myers, the Republican candidate for mayor.
The more we began to learn about Mr. Myers, the more pleasantly surprised we became.
We were so excited to learn that Mr. Myers, father of 6, was a missionary to Paraguay
for several years.
During that time, they were a homeschool family!
He's a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan & Wesley Biblical Seminar.
We were delighted to see evidence of many values & principles that we hold dear
in common with Mr. Myers & his family.
We are praying for his win!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 7 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

Have I not commanded thee? 
Be strong & of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 
--Joshua 1:9

I never cease being amazed at how the Word of God speaks to my heart.
It's true.  It's relevant.  It's accurate ... & it's right on time.
It's life.  It's strength.  It's healing.

Whatever I need, God is ... & I find it again & again in His Word.

James, my sweet husband, is strong in the Word & he is forever encouraging us
to be faithful in our Bible reading.
He firmly believes in the doctrine of sola scriptura, that the Bible contains all the knowledge
needed for salvation & holiness, & that the Bible is the final authority.
I'm so thankful for his walk with the Lord & his dedication for discipling his family.
He'll never know the strength he is for me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

I know the scripture says he that findeth a wife findeth a good thing.
I say {Angie commentary}, he that findeth a husband also findeth a good thing!

Not only did James, my beloved, bring forth a wonderful sermon at church,
he baked 'from scratch' cookies for us this evening!
Spiritual food & natural food, all in one day's work.

I came into the kitchen to find him with Amish cookbook, the salt shaker
holding open the page.
He had decided to bake some cookies.

In no time, he stirred together a batch of Soft Sugar Cookies.


Indeed, Sunday was sweet ... from start to finish.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 4 & 5 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

TGIF ... and S!

James says TGIF nearly every Friday, bless his heart.
He has a very physically & mentally demanding job ...
so, I know his TGIF really means ' SO glad that I have a couple days at home!'
When he says 'thank God it's Friday,' he realllly means it.

I love Fridays too ... my favorite day of the week.
It's nice to have that break in routine for a couple of days.

Last night, we ordered pizza & watched a Christmas movie.
Nothing better than spending a Friday night with the people I love the most.

For the 'TGIS part' of the post, I love the Saturdays where there's nothing on
the agenda ... a day completely free to do whatever.
Today was just that kind of day.
We decided to get outside & enjoy the beautiful fall day, knowing there
may not be too many more of these 'warm' days left.
We ran to the grocery, picked up 'grill out' meats & headed to the park for an
impromptu cookout.
Our friends were available {& spontaneous} & joined us.
Fall, food, & fellowship made for a great day.

I snapped this picture right before we left.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3 ~ 30 Days of Thanks

James took this on the Isle of Palms, SC ~ vacation 2011

Ever been worried or anxious for the future?
We've all been there, probably more than we'd like to admit.
Whether it be concerning our own life or the lives of our children,
we want to know the plan.
We want it all laid out in front of us, every twist & turn on this journey of life.
Nothing unexpected.
No surprises.

During times of distress or in those situations when we don't have the answers,
we can turn to the Word for comfort.

2 Samuel reminds me that God is my strength & power, & HE makes my way perfect!
The way that seems so unclear ... he promises to make perfect.

I am so thankful for God's perfect plan.
My best intentions fail.
My plans often unravel & come up short ... but never the plans of the Almighty.

I love the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 that says 'I know the thoughts that
I think toward you ... thoughts of peace & not of evil, to give you a future & a hope.'
I can be glad that my hope is in the Lord!

I can trust my life into the hands of a God who has been making arrangements
for me since long before I was born.
He's never unprepared.
My past does not worry Him ... nor my present surprise Him.
And my future, it's no mystery to Him.
I have a part in His plan ... one with eternal purpose.

How precious also are Your thoughts toward me, O God! 
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more  in number than the sand.
Psalm 139:17-18