Tis So Sweet…

Dear Readers,

In my last post I mentioned some recent work the Lord has been doing on my heart…
Friends, this has not been pretty.
I would love to see the things that need changing in my heart and then orchestrate a much easier path for that to be accomplished.
Isn’t it a grace that the Lord’s ways are not my ways? I would be far too easy on myself, expect too little, and ultimately fail in the work that needed to be done.

This past month has been an unusually difficult time with E.
There have been, of course, sweet moments of watching her learn and grow– but also far too many moments of seeing sin (both in her and myself!)

I love the hymn “Tis So Sweet” and a few lyrics I am praying over this season are:

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Praying that the Lord will help me walk faithfully in this time with Emma– trusting Him to cleanse me of my own sin in the process, and that He would one day bring her to salvation!

I have been reading/studying through a book with a few friends:
“Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home” by Gloria Furman.

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The Lord has been incredibly kind to provide timely words for this season of discipline/parenting and the different challenges that come with it.
I love that Furman points us to Christ in nearly every page of this book. It is saturated with the Word of God, and I am thankful that is the basis by which she approaches her readers.
This season has been a tempting time to complain… When Adam gets home from work, I fear the first things out of my mouth typically have to do with Emma’s behavior.
Thankful for this reminder:
“Living in the reality of the gospel means the difference between complaining to others about something that annoys us and rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness to his name.”
Because the Lord IS faithful— faithful to work in the mundane of housework, faithful to give wisdom/patience/grace at all the moments our hearts are needing it, and so VERY faithful to complete the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

In addition to challenging moments in discipline (usually accompanied by painful reminders of my OWN need of Christ’s ongoing work in my life)– I have also seen my strong tendency to anxiety. Our Pastor here has recently been preaching through Philippians and dealt with this particular sin one morning.
It was amazing to me how little I often view this as a sin against the Lord. I tend to use vocabulary that remove its heinousness: “concern”, “care”, etc… Avoiding the root issues in play.
It is a clear command, “Do not be anxious about anything…” in Philippians 4:6- and this is something I am fervently asking the Lord to help me grow in!

I mentioned the study I did through Nehemiah– Did I tell you that it was wonderful? πŸ™‚
One of my favorite sections was over chapter 9. This was a time of Israel confessing both their sin and the Lord’s faithfulness in a prayer. It is the longest recorded prayer in the O.T and I really encourage you to read it. It expresses (beautifully, I might add) the marked contrast between man’s wickedness and the Lord’s goodness.
Two of my favorite verses are 31 and 33, “Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God…. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.”

In each struggle against my own sinfulness, I am so thankful for these passages– I pray they bring encouragement to you as well. The Lord is merciful, ready to forgive! I pray that we would be a people that would run to Him in repentance- and then also PRAISE Him for His love, compassion, and mercy! For we deserve to be forsaken…

Till next time.

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Thankful for His Goodness…

Dear Readers,

I can hardly believe it has been 3 1/2 months since I last wrote an update…
There have been a lot of new changes, each one a sweet blessing from the Lord!
I will try my best to give a condensed look at our life since my December post.

We have re-located for my husband’s new job (still in Alabama, just further South) and we have been abundantly grateful for the Lord’s work in bringing us here. Adam’s job has been a refreshing (and needed!) change for our family and we are so thankful!
Along with his new job, we have been in the process of joining a new Church. Friends, can I just say how much I love the opportunity to gather with a faithful community of believers?! Adam and I are so thankful that the Lord brought us (quickly, I might add!) to our new Church home! This was something I prayed earnestly for, and the Lord has been gracious!

We will also be adding a new addition to our little family this September… We are almost 5 months pregnant, and rejoicing in this kind gift from the Lord! This was a fairly large surprise (finding out the week that we were moving!) but isn’t the Lord merciful to provide rest and assurance when you would expect a fretting heart? Three children under the age of 3 will certainly be busy, but we trust the Lord will provide the needed strength, grace, and patience for that season!

The past few months have also marked a sweet time of fellowship with the Lord, along with a great deal of conviction in the way of my selfishness/anxiousness and general sinfulness.
I am excited to share more about this in my next post- but for now, I’ll leave you with a few books that I have read/been reading recently– all of which I highly recommend.

1) nehemiah
Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break, Kelly Minter.

This Bible Study is usually done in the format of a small group (along with a DVD) but I wanted something to go through while Adam and I were getting ready for the new transition of moving/finding a new Church, and this is what I chose.
Can I just tell you how much I enjoyed it?! Kelly Minter is a gifted writer/teacher and this study was such a refreshing look at the account in Nehemiah. I knew little about this book (other than the fact that it dealt with the re-building of the wall in Jerusalem) and I was so thankful for an opportunity to dig deeper into Nehemiah’s life, the difficulties he/the Israelites faced in their 52 days of re-building, and life after the Israelites were back in their homes.

2) the knowledge of the Holy
The Knowledge of The Holy, A.W. Tower

This is probably the third or fourth book I have read by Tozer and it has quickly become one of my favorites.
Our Pastor has been taking the Church through a study on this book during Wednesday night service, and I have greatly anticipated it each week!
I cannot begin to convey the amount of humbling the Lord has been working out in my heart as I have read and studied through this book.
Tozer wrote the book to address an issue he was seeing in the Church, “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.”
He deals with the divine attributes of the Lord and seeks to help his reader understand that “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” This means that we must be willing to study Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any belief in our hearts that are contrary to His Word.
Tozer notes that, “Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous.”

One of my favorite things about reading this book has been the way Tozer contrasts God’s amazing character to man. As he talks about the immutability of God, he also talks about the nature of man to change. It has brought an even greater sense of worship to see the Lord- in all of His strength, wisdom, and infinitude- in light of man’s weakness, foolishness and finiteness.
It has been a privilege to read this book, and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I’ll end on that note… With more to share, I look forward to posting again soon.
Till then.

The Unexpected

It is cold and rainy outside and a week later on updating the blog than I had planned….

My little family has been battling the flu and bronchitis over the past couple of weeks (both of which came a little too close to our stomach bug fiasco than I would have liked).
The onset of sickness began on our trip to Texas and made for a little (but only a little!) less enjoyable time with my parents.
I’m thankful still for the sweet memories, the laughter, the movies, and all of the precious moments E and L had with my family.
Only seeing my parents once or twice a year does make for a lot of rejoicing when we are together…sick or not! πŸ™‚ And my little ones sure did soak up time with their Granddaddy and Granna.

But our days are like this, are they not? Filled with many unplanned events…illness, car trouble, unexpected house maintenance, loss of a job, or even loss of a loved one.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” -Prov. 16:9
Our days are not our own and the Lord has every right to change and completely modify even our best and truest of efforts.

“As humanity we see only the imperfect, underside of God’s tapestry of our lives. What we judge to be ‘tragic-the most dreaded thing that could happen,’ I expect we’ll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our lives and our family.” -Elisabeth Elliot

“Almost always the question comes, in one form or another, Why does God do this to me? When I am tempted to ask that same question, it loses its power when I remember that this Lord, into who’s strong hands I long ago committed my life, is engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity. How could I possibly understand all that He must take into consideration as He deals with it and with me, a single individual?”
-Elisabeth Elliot

These quotes came to mind, even as they would relate to the trivial nature of the flu and bronchitis.
To all things… God be the glory!

As I noted in my last post, I was going to share a couple of things regarding this Christmas season. Though it has now passed, I’ll share a couple of my favorites from this December month:

1) The Expected One, by Scott James

The expected one

So thankful for this book and the way that Scott James brings you through the Old Testament prophecies leading up to the 1st coming of Christ. A great Advent resource to consider!

2) Savannah Cinnamon

savannah cinnamon

This made for some wonderful Apple Cider (and naturally fills your home with delicious Christmasy scents!)

3) Jane Austen Devotional

Jane Austen Devotional

I love Jane Austen. She was truly one of the most amazing authors of classic literature and that is evident by the millions of people that still treasure her novels today. My Mom knows this little fact about me and got me this book for Christmas. It is a sweet little gem that has been added to my library. For any ladies that love Jane Austen— this book has taken pages of her novels and added a small biblical commentary (addressing positive/negative qualities of her characters or themes) and bringing them to light with Scripture. Love. It.

4) Favorite song that I found…
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Hillsong

5) Favorite movie… Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn

An all time favorite… Loved having the opportunity to watch this with my family in Texas.

6) Favorite little hobby of the month… Arm knitting.

arm knitting

I love knitting, though it does take quite a bit of time to create anything of substantial length. Especially with two little ones.
When I came across this I was really intrigued at how quickly you were able to make something. I was able to make a blanket for both my Mom and Granny in a VERY short period of time! Something to look into if you are feeling a little crafty πŸ˜‰

That’s all for now… Tomorrow we are off to begin our little adventure with Adam’s new job. We are house hunting for the next several days!

Hope all you lovely readers have a wonderful New Years!

The days just slip away…

Dear Readers,

I’m sorry it has been so long since I have written…
The past month has been filled with some house showings, the beginning of a new job for my husband, a stomach bug, and many joy-filled moments in between.

Our little E is just so big. Every time I look at her. And isn’t that always how it is? You feel like you will never be past the late night feedings/dirty diapers and then I look at her sitting on the potty or hear her say FULL sentences and I am blown away.
L is SO close to walking and seems to be doing new things every day…whether clapping his tiny little hands or eating a jelly sandwich.
And I just think… when did this happen?

I would like to say that things will be slowing down, but as we get ready to sell the house (it is currently under contract!) I know that will mean more to-do lists, packing, and preparations for this next season of life.

In the midst of this, I am praying the Lord will give me a heart that rejoices and looks forward to all He has in store with these new changes.
There are so many things I will miss about Alabama.. our church, friends, the local library, food (meat and 3’s, where have you been all my life?) and I absolutely love our pediatrician.
But the Lord is sovereign and I’m thankful His plans are never based on what would be most comfortable for me…how many blessings I would have missed had that been the case!
Honestly… I am one for adventures. Adam and I have had a very “filled” 3 years of marriage and now we will just be taking this next adventure with our two sweet little ones.

I will try, even as things remain busy, to post a little more frequently!

I hope each of you are enjoying your Decembers and even in these days of shopping/cooking/planning/wrapping that you are MOST joyful and MOST full of the thought of Christ.
Will be posting more on the thought of Christmas soon…

Till then.

October days…

We had several sweet and memorable moments this past month and I thought I would post a few pictures from October as we welcome in November (so hard to believe it’s already here!)

A trip to the zoo:

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Some fun with pumpkins and cookies:

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And trunk or treat/hayride at Church:

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October really did fly by for us… I hope that you all had a wonderful month and are excited for the coming Thanksgiving/Christmas time.
Jenny Coobs posted such a sweet challenge on her blog as we move into November- I encourage you to read it here: http://jennycoobs.wordpress.com

Tortilla Soup

My family grew up eating a lot of homemade soups… Colorado’s cool crisp weather permitted such frequent occasions πŸ™‚
This particular recipe has been passed down 3 generations, starting with my Great Uncle Johnny.

This is an absolute all-time favorite of ours and it is sure to bring some warmth during the upcoming wintery days!

Tortilla Soup

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    Ingredients:

-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen is fine)
-1 onion, diced
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
-1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies (with juice)
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
-3/4 tsp cilantro
-1 tsp oregano
-salt to taste
-3 quarts of water
-Optional garnish: tortilla chips and shredded cheese

Directions:

1) In large pot cook chicken in the 3 quarts of salted water (if frozen- about 30 minutes).
2) Remove chicken and cut into small pieces
3)Saute the vegetables

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4) Return to broth and add sautΓ©ed veggies/other ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour.

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5) We always served this over of a bed of chips and topped with shredded cheese.

*Serves 8-10, but if you are feeding a smaller group it does freeze/re-heat well!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Tiny Houses

My Dad recently mentioned this new movement in the housing industry.

Many of you may have already heard of “Tiny Houses” and seen their fascinating architecture.
This was brand new to me and it is truly an interest concept.

Check out this tour of Tumbleweed’s model “The Linden 20”

Ok, so not practical when you have two little ones… I kept thinking to myself, “Where would I put toys/diapers/high chair/changing table, etc…”
But I am very willing to try this out when we are empty-nesters.

Let me know what you think of this!

Tomorrow I will be posting one of my favorite soup recipes…
Warm food: one of my favorite things about the weather cooling down! πŸ™‚