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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

I'm sure that blogging will be the last thing on anyone's mind next week so we just wanted to leave you with one last post before the New Year!!

Today our plan was to bake....allllll day!!  We weren't planning on baking this year, because, well times are tight but a dear friend of mine wouldn't hear of it!!  So thanks to her kindness, we are in baking business!!

Here is our Christmas Cookie Must Haves:

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Chocolate Chip
Sugar Cookie
Gingerbread (new to the list)
Buttercreams (not a cookie)
Molasses

So far we've accomplished Chocolate Chip, m &m, molasses, ginger snap, dough for sugar cookies and buttercreams!!  We are breaking for dinner and then more baking!!

I may not be able to move tomorrow :) But I'll have plenty to snack on when I'm stuck on the couch!!  Haha!

What's on your list??





Thursday, December 20, 2012

My favorite place

I had lunch on Tuesday with three fabulous ladies!!  I haven't been with these three in wayyy too long and it was a much needed rekindling of friendships!! 
I totally was NOT going to share this picture, because I look half lit!!!  It was very hard to not crack up during the taking of this shot, so you'll have to pardon my face - lol!!! (L-R top, Shawn, Lori & Elizabeth)  yeah, I'm the crazy one in the front!!
 
 I don't understand why and how we've let ourselves become sooooo busy that we have no time for friends and neighbors!  I'm not kidding when I tell you that the people that I spend time with (besides my little family) are the ones that I'm "working" (a.k.a. involved in a ministry) with!  Even with that, it's only during "business hours" so to speak.
 
Long gone are the days of lazing on the front porch with neighbors after supper watching the kids catch fireflies.  If I could invent a machine that would take me back to a simpler time, I would, in a heart beat!  Anyway, as much as I'd like this post to be about the women that I spent my afternoon with, it's going to be more about where we spent our time.  Out of all of the homes I've ever been to, this is by far, my MOST FAVORITE one!!! 

 
It's a gorgeous old farmhouse that Shawn and her husband, Steven have lovingly restored.  It has a huge wrap-around porch, that I adore.  I know they get a lot of use out this space, enjoying meals and coffee out here when the weather is just right!!

 
 
Almost every time that I am there, I am snapping pictures left and right.  Her home is such an inspiration to me, its a place of warmth, peace, comfort and most of all love.  Everything that Shawn puts her hand to comes from a place of deep love and I love that about her.  She is wildly creative with everything that she does, she manages to make the biggest impact with her simple approach.
 
On Tuesday she prepared the most special lunch for us girls.  It was beautiful and simple.
 
Salad, beans, homemade vinegrette, zuchinni corn bread and tomato pepper soup!
 
I have a hard time keeping eye contact with Shawn when she's talking to me, because my eyes wander to all of the beautiful things she has around her home.  Here are a few areas of her home that I was able to capture!!
 







I mean seriously, who wouldn't want to curl up in this home and just relax and soak it all in!!!  I am so ready to pack my bags (sorry family...I'll be back eventually!!!) lol
 
 
Check out the flatware!!!!  How cool is that!!!  This soup was incredible, it all was!!

 
I had the best cup of pumpkin coffee out of this adorable mug!!  She said she got it Good Will!!!!  What????  I am missing out on some serious shopping!!!

 
And their stockings were hung.......
 
And here are a few of her collections.....she knows how to make even the most simple things look amazing!!!!
 
 
Bottles........

 
........Boots

Corks.......

 
& Brushes!!

I could certainly fill a book with pictures that I've taken from around her farm, but I'm working on trying to get her to enter the blog world, she would have so much to offer in the way of decorating, gardening and just sharing her God story!!  So I'll stop, for now!!! 
 
I hope that you've enjoyed this little teaser of my favorite place!!  You can check out her sweet shop on facebook.  It's a local store, so if you're in the area, be sure to stop in and say Hello!!  Tell her Lorraine sent ya!!
 
<3 God bless, Lorraine
 

 
 
 

 
 



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Different Perspective on Christmas


My husband sent me an email yesterday, I wasn't expecting it and I new immediately that I had to share it.  The hubbs, as I like to refer to him as, doesn't express a lot of thoughts or emotions, he has them, don't get me wrong, but he's a get-er-done kind of guy...he doesn't spend a lot of time standing still talking, he's a doer.  So when I get a glimpe into his heart and mind, I'm always surprised and appreciative.
 
I've been wanting to write about our situation, but haven't figured out how to word things so that it doesn't sound like complaining or like we're looking for handouts....we're not.  I think that "the hubbs" has done a beautiful job.  So without further delay......I present you with a guest post by Bill Richie (aka the hubbs)
 
 

So this Christmas finds our family in a different place than we have ever been.  It’s been 22 months since I was laid off from a company that I had worked at for nearly 20 years, the company I always thought that I would retire from.  Fortunately, I was hired as a contractor and have been employed for about the past 9 months.  Throughout the past 22 months, we have been fortunate enough to be able to pay all of our bills through receiving a generous severance package, NJ unemployment insurance, generous gifts and donations from friends and family, and my current contracting position.  The most recent struggle has been with the fact that there has been and is no extra cash.  So this Christmas we find ourselves without the “normal” Christmas celebration.

The “normal” Christmas for us has been to celebrate with a multitude of gifts for the kids under the tree, being able to provide an Angel Tree family with a Christmas meal and gifts for their kids, being generous in providing for others during this season, and being able to make multiple batches of Christmas cookies with our kids.  Our normal family traditions have been to purchase Christmas pajamas for all seven of us, having a Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls (homemade or store bought), and enjoying the opportunity to celebrate with the extended family in the afternoon with an appetizer dinner.

This year is going to look different.  It has to look different because we have nothing extra for all of those things.  We have no cash set aside or saved for Christmas.  We have no room on our one credit card (yes we only have one left).  About a week ago we had a family over for dinner and during our discussions we ended up talking about Christmas and our financial situation (we are not embarrassed and not ashamed to talk about it, and we are not looking for donations either).  In turn that family and two other families in their extended family decided to provide us with $300 in gift cards to Walmart.  We took the time to go shopping and were able to buy each of our kids something for Christmas with that money but there is nothing left over.  It is hard to split $300 between 5 kids but we did it.  We are so grateful to that family for their generosity.  It means the world to know that we have friends who care enough to make a sacrifice for us, even though one member in the family has recently lost a job as well.

My heart is broken by the things around us that are pulling for everyone’s attention this Christmas season – toys, lights, trees, presents, and decorations.  My heart is broken by the events that are shaping this season too – the economic situation and the “fiscal cliff”, the tragedy in Newtown, CT, the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy, and the discontinuation of a long standing live nativity at a military base due to an atheist group’s complaints.  I am torn on how to serve and how to provide for those that are struggling even though I myself am financially strapped.

Well this Christmas we are going to have to do things differently.  Christmas is a time to celebrate.  We need to celebrate the fact that we are able to be together, that we have good health, and that we have a Savior who has fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament and cares for us.  He loves us even when we don’t deserve it.  We quarrel, complain and doubt out of the same mouth that we praise His name.  We need to change our focus from internal and temporal to external and eternal.  He came to give us freedom from the things that bind us, from the things that hold us back from fulfilling His promises for our lives.  We are called to be His Ambassadors and His Disciples.  We are called to serve those in need with our hearts, with our souls and with our talents.  If we do not have the financial abilities to provide than we need to focus on what we do have that can be used for His purpose.  This year our Christmas is going to be different.  It has to be.
 
*Thank you, my dear husband, for sharing your thoughts and heart with us <3  Our situation has provided us with the challenge of accepting being stripped down from the chaos of the season and has offered us, instead an opportunity to really count "the gifts", the one's that truly matter <3
 
May your family be blessed this Christmas with quiet times to reflect on His goodness, I urge you to count your gifts as well, no, not the ones under the tree but those around it <3
 
God Bless <3  Bill and Lorraine Richie

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Words...........

Good morning gatherers!  It's Tuesday, but the heaviness of last Fridays tragedy still hangs heavy.  I don't know that there really are appropriate words to say, but "I'm sorry" just never feel like enough.  Though our prayers are the BEST gift to give, even that leaves most of us feeling quite helpless.

I will say though that I look at my children a little longer, I linger a bit more in their embrace and I'm more thankful for each and every day that God chooses to give me breath.  I still look forward to the sunrise and the Light, but the darkness holds something more now. 


In spite of the darkness that surrounds us, the Light still shines brightly.  My family received a few amazing gifts, one on Thursday and the other on Friday,  and although the gifts in and of themselves were wonderful, the heart behind the gifts is what stood out even more to us! I came across this passage while looking for a verse to use in their Thank You cards. 

Psalm 27:13 says:

"Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am still in the land of the living."
 
Am I confident this morning, in the wake of the tradgedy that is blowing up the news feed and channels that there is goodness on this earth??  I'll admit that it's not always easy to see it, but I do believe that it's only because we are trained to see the BIG things.  We miss millions of little things each and every day, and we must re-train ourselves to find them!!
 
A few places to start:
 
 
 "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing". -Zephania 3:17
 

Am I acknowleding His presence in my thoughts, words and deeds?  Do I trust that when I send my children out or I leave them, that God is with us all?  Or will I turn from that belief if something tragic were to happen?

 
Without worship, we go about miserable."
A. W. Tozer
 
Plainly said and so evident in the world around us!  Can I challege you to explore worship a bit more this season?  I will be.  I think at its very core, worship begins with the acknowledgement of God's presence.  Once we begin to see that He is here, every other aspect of worship naturally happens.  We can't help but take it to the next level.
 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." -John 14:27
 
It's not always easy to find and feel peace in this world.  But it doesn't come from the world.  Is that where I tend to look for peace, in my surroundings, in others?  If I am not looking for it in Christ, I will not find it.
 

 
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;" -Romans 12:9
 
We must believe that Love can make a difference!!!! 
 
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
 
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
 
 
I am having trouble even piecing these things together.  My insides feel all inside out.  This season has been quite a twist of emotions for me and this tragedy has deeply added to the confusion.  Even though the world is terribly confused and I am counted as one among them, I do know that these truths listed above will go with me into my days and nights, my darkness and my light.  They never change friends, ever.  No matter what this world throws at us, His word will never change.  He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be tomorrow!!
 
Let us praise His name forever!
 
 
 
Humbly yours <3 Lorraine

Friday, December 14, 2012

Circumstances or Stories?

If you're a friend of mine on facebook - you already know that I've been struggling for, well about two weeks consistently!  Part of the reason that I'm having trouble right now is told here, a post from way back in the beginning of this blog, it continues in this post and again in this one.  It's a three part series of back story.

I've been on a "light" kick for some time....always trying to capture His light in my life

We dove off of that "high dive" and I feel like we've gone through periods of floating and periods of flailing.  We are still unsure of what the future holds, but then again, who isn't.  All throughout this journey we've done an okay job with giving thanks, and counting gifts but as we get further and further into this, we want so desperately to "do something"!! 

I need to get out of the shadows and into the Light

If we could just make a decision that will make a difference we would feel so much better.  If someone could just tell me what to do!!  It's hard doing nothing.  In a comment that my husband left on one of the above posts he talked about how as children when we're first put into the pool we want to kick and scream and get out because we are afraid of drowning, but if we would just learn to rest, we would find that we would most likely float on the surface and eventually learn to swim.  Easier said than done!

He is our rest and place of refuge
 
Well this morning God gave me something that I think will make a bit of a difference.  No it wasn't a big fat check to pay for our broken vehicles (which, by the way, would be amazing!!) it was a word.  The word is "story".  I was writing a message to a friend who had asked for prayer for a friend of hers and as I was replying I was about to say that God is already in the midst of her situation or circumstance but instead of using those words God showed me that it's not merely a situation.  Life is not, contrary to popular belief, a series of circumstances and situations.  It's a story, our story, and it's one that, if we are willing, God will write on the pages of our book.

He is our quiet place in the midst of the chaos

I personally find that very profound this morning, as I sit here two years in to this unemployment story.  Yes, Bill has been working, as a contractor with no benefits or paid time off.  We've looked at that as a circumstance, something short term that will eventually, hopefully change.  While we are very thankful for the job and the paycheck, we have not warmly embraced it, we've attempted to try to, but it hasn't happened.  Bill has really struggled there, wondering why God would put him in a situation where he feels he is not being utilized fully.  He realizes that this situation has limitations, but as a man, a doer, it's difficult for him.

It's kind of like a rental home.  I've read a few blogs from people who are renting and they have a hard time settling in and making it their own, hoping and knowing that eventually they will move on.  In parenting, we look at each age and stage as just that, something that's going to change and we start to look forward to the change instead of embracing where we are.

I feel like the flower out of place in the season, refusing to give into the cold and death around her
 
Seasons come and go, days and nights fly by, our "situation" changes all.the.time.  But I wonder if we took a different position, if our perspective would shift, that maybe rest and peace would come a bit more easily.

found this message in the corner of my dry erase board -from the hubbs

I don't know.  Maybe I'm nuts.  Maybe it's exhaustion talking or delirium from spinning around in circles.  All I know is that I don't like where I'm at.  I'm stuck in this space in between and its uncomfortable.  I'm really, really, really struggling with what I'm used to and where I now find myself.  I'm really, really wanting to float on the surface and just rest.  I want that for my husband and my children as well.  I don't want my family and friends to worry about us and feel like they are helpless.  I just want to accept where I'm at and float above it. 

I'm reminded of this gem in scripture:

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint". Isaish 40:30-31

So, all that to say, I'm going to attempt to start looking at my "circumstances" more like a story and see what difference that will make......care to join me in the journey??  Oh and one more thing......I picked up this edition of the bible months ago and I've been working through it with my kids in school. 


It removes the books of the bible, chapters and titles and makes it one cohesive story.  It really gives you a different experience when reading it - I'm praying that I'll have the same type of experience when I remove the "circumstance labels" from my story and read it as one cohesive book!

God Bless <3 Lorraine


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Break Resoultions

I'm in the last week of classes and I'm pushing through. The majority of my free time has been taken up by Western Civilizations and it's terrible. But I keep telling myself that in less than a week, I'll be done, for over a month! Yay for college breaks! So I thought that I'd make a little "Christmas break resolutions" list. I have until January 22nd until my next semester starts up, let's see what I can get done in that time!


Winter Break Resolutions

 

1. Reorganize my room!

I need to move things around, decorate for Christmas, and clean EVERYTHING!
 

2. Wrap gifts!

I've been going a little Christmas crazy this past month and have an abundance of gifts to wrap.
 

3. Finish LiveLifeOnPurpose...

... and write a review for the blog (keep your eyes open). This book by Claude Hickman is a great follow up to my weekend in Indiana, but that was like a month ago. The book is so good that I want to take my time with it but I've also started to lose interest... not good!
 

4. Schedule the second half of Joe's school year

I don't know that I've ever written about this before, but I homeschool Joe, the 12 year old. The year has gone really well, but I want to schedule out the other half of the school year and add in some fun hands-on activities.
 

5. Get my GED

I have yet to get my GED and it's killing me. I feel like I have unfinished business with highschool, which is never a good thing. So hopefully over winter break I'll be able to go and take the test and pass!
 
 
Well, that's my Winter Break Resolutions! I'll try to update the blog more and let you know what's going on in my life. Hopefully I can share the finished resolutions with you guys!
 
Jessica
    

Friday, December 7, 2012

He makes all things new

 


So I didn't intend to write about this.  I remember taking this picture, but thinking that it was hard to read on Instagram, I dismissed it and went on my way, tucking the treasure deep into my heart.  I wanted to come back and do a recap of the week and share how God has provided (Yahweh Yireh) since Tuesdays battle.

I logged on and found a draft in the list of posts and thought I'd check it out....and found this picture. 

"He can take the regular, the secular, and the profane and make them holy and sacred."
 
When I underlined this portion of text, I had just spent time with a young man whose heart is hardened, a heart that is close to my own, and in my pain and grief, God sent me this promise....that He can take anything, all things and make it holy!  Thank you Jesus!  I am standing on this boldy as I claim this over the heart of a young man that I love (my son),  as I claim this over the regular parts of my day and life, the profane areas of my heart that I keep in hiding. 
 
I spent time with another young man this week, a young man who is a year older than my oldest son.  He shared his story of how God took the profane and secular places of his life, the ones that he tried for years to hide, and He redeemed those places and made them holy and sacred.  Now he is actively seeking God's will in his life and can stand and testify to God's goodness.  Stories like his give me tremendous hope for the lost, tremendous hope for my own soul.
 
 
"The Holy One can take the ordinary, the cmmon, and the simple, and then sanctify, beautify, and hallow it by his personal presence."
 
 
Oh friends, when we can open up those common and simple places in our lives, the regular, secular and profane areas, and give God full reign in those areas.......well, He can save a wretch like me and like you.  The pain, shame and suffering....give it to Him and let him heal and make you whole.  The common, regular and simple areas of your day and life.....invite Him into the places and spaces and let Him make them holy by His mere presence.  The profane, dark and ugly.....He's waiting to cleanse those areas and make them shine. 
 
Advent is as perfect time as any to quiet yourself before Him and allow Him to search your heart and reveal those places to you.  Let Him in and see what's He's been waiting to do <3
 
 
God bless <3 Lorraine


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The battle


"The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead."  -Psalm 143:3

Beautiful thought to start the day off with, right??  Ha!  Tell me about it!!  I woke up this morning and happened upon a moment that I "thought" was a gift from God.....then, without warning, the enemy raced onto the scene and led an attack that I was not expecting and was not ready for....at all!

My beautiful moment of thanksgiving was rudely interrupted and it's taken me hours to recover, I'm still standing on shakey legs.  I guess the thing that I'm trying to convey here this morning, friends, is that there is one who seeks to kill, destroy and devour.  He will do it at whatever the costs, because for him, there is nothing to lose and the greater the cost on our end, the more victorious the battle is for him.  No, the enemy isn't your husband, or boyfriend, or bestfriend.  It's not your mother or your father or even your children.  It's Satan.  Now, I know that we don't care to use the "s" word, or to talk about him for fear of giving him more power than he deserves (which, by the way, is NONE).  But I think that we are foolish Christians for ignoring the adversary.  If we do not talk about his schemes and plans than we are walking unarmed into a horrendous battle.

So here's how the attack went......and I think it's safe to say, that this is his typical M.O.

1.  I was unsuspecting......1 Peter 5:8 says "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  This tells me that the enemy is ALWAYS on guard....looking for opportunities and we must be on guard and ready!!

2. He hit me where it hurts.......don't be fooled in thinking that satan doesn't know you intimately.  He does.  In this attack, he worked through my children.  Knowing that I am working on teaching my children to love and serve others, he went for the soft spot and highlighted an area where they clearly were not following their teachings, not in just one instance, but in several, one after the other.....that leads perfectly to number three

3. He took over my words.  Instead of responding in the Grace the God offers, I spewed out some nastiness, used words that I wished I hadn't and gave him permission to ruin my entire day!  I "reacted" instead of "responding".  When we react, we just jump off the cuff and let it roll.  When we respond instead, we have taken the appropriate amount of time to process what happened and we choose our words and course of action wisely.  I should have calmly and lovingly addressed the issue and proceded to guide them to the foot of the cross. (yes, that is completely possible)

4.  He took over my thoughts.  I immediately gave him permission to ruin my day, like I said above.  I believe that I even claimed several times that "Now I'm pissed off and everyone is going to have a horrible day!!"  Yikes!!!  I may as well have put on the devil suit and paraded around the house with my pitchfork!!  I also allowed myself to get distracted by nonsense instead of doing my morning devo's (which is the second day that I've missed - boo), I started feeling like we are a housefull of hypocrites (which is true) but I was beating myself up and feeling foolish!  I held onto the anger and the shame and I was ready to make everyone pay for it!!!  Man, that's ugly.

But that's not the end of it!!!  From almost the second that it started, I could feel God's hand and words in my heart and mouth.  I knew the choice that I had to make and I could literally feel the battle rage inside of me.  I was offered His grace time and time again, and I feel like each time it was offered, I was one step closer to taking it.  Turning around on a wrong path that we've started down is not easy.  There are a whole lot of nasty arrows that are flying our way, especially when we decide to turn around.  Fear, failure, embarrassment, weakness, etc.  We have to learn and trust that His ways are better.  That the power that we give the enemy only exists if we allow it to.  The very moment that we throw down our weapons and raise the white flag - God comes rushing in with all of His goodness and mercy and forgiveness.  He scoops us up and cleans up the mess!  We don't really even have to clean up the mess!

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
Acts 20:24

I believe that it all started around 8:00 this morning.  It's now 11:00, I've been in battle for just about 2 and a half hours.  He did wreak havoc on our morning, we recovered a bit and have moved forward.  Forgiveness was offered and I'm hoping and praying that it was accepted on all accounts.  I'm thinking that next time I won't resist "The Way" as long as I did this morning....and there will be a next time, trust me.

So, I leave you with this:

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

God bless <3 Lorraine

Monday, December 3, 2012

Where You Go, I Go

Last week at youthgroup we sang I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin, if you're not familiar with the song you can find it here. I don't know about you guys, but where I live the song is overused. Which is a shame, it's a great song that is packed full of great things! But last night I really wanted to move past the words and get into the meaning. Now, bear with me here, this sounds really odd. I found myself with a slideshow going through my head while I sang through the chorus and I thought that I would share that with you.
 
Where you go, I'll go
This picture was taken in the San Pedro Sula, Honduras airport.
 
Where you stay, I'll stay
As you guys know, I'm in college, and while it isn't always fun, this is where God is right now. I need to be content living for him in the United States and in Honduras.
 
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
 
 
Whom you love, I'll love
While in Honduras...
 
How you serve, I'll serve
Feeding the hungry...
 
If this life I lose, I will follow you
 
 
 
~Jessica
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

We are the body & social media

Happy Friday friends!!  This week, like every other week, has had it's share of crazy moments and I sit here on this Friday morning, amazed.  Amazed at how God works in the details of our lives, whether they are good details or tragic details.

My week has been traced with sickness!  Two kids down in one week, and of course as one is on the mend, the next one begins!  Such is life, especially with more than one child in the house!! My mom was willing to come pick up my sick child and take her back to her house for a little R&R while we went on with our busyness.  The next day, I dropped sickie number two off at mom-mom's as well.

My little sickie on Monday night

I see the hands and feet of Jesus, as well as His heart, displayed daily in the way my parents conduct themselves.  They are never unable to help someone in need.  I admit, there are times when it drives me crazy!!  How in the world can  you always say yes, you have to say no once in a while, don't you???  Well, no - you don't.  When you walk in the footsteps of Jesus, not only do those footsteps lead you in the right direction, but they provide the restoration for your soul that you need when you live a life of servanthood.   I appreciate that Godly example in my parents and it's one that I am working on setting for my children as well.  To be flexible and be in God's will is exactly where we need to be at.all.times.!

We talked about God's will at youth group on Wednesday night - it was an awesome lesson to dive into.  We are far too easily captivated with the things of this world and oftentimes we are just clueless to all that God's way has to offer us.  If you think of the most perfect situation that you could find yourself in in this world, God's way trumps that......tenfold!  To the untrained eye, God's way looks ridiculous.....how do your empty yourself and yet find yourself full?  How do you put yourself at the back of the line and yet, find yourself being crowned as first? I admit, it doesn't make sense, until you take that step.

taking that step to follow him....prepping for teaching opportunities

Anyway, I sat here this morning, contemplating my day, *which has put me in the position of having two children at home and two at my parents.  I did my devotionals, got my cuppa joe and hopped on the computer to read my favorite blogs and saw another example of God's hands and feet being displayed in a community.  Sasha, of www.lemonademakinmama.com shared a frightening story of what this week offered her, her family and ultimately her neighborhood.  I want to encourage you to jump over there and read today's post.  It is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of how the body comes together to support a hurting member.  It's a story of God's redemption, His love, grace & forgiveness.

It left me feeling so many different things, but the thing that I wanted to share here about this was not just her story, (which, by the way, is more than enough to stand on its own) but the story of social media & technology.  These things, while they can definitely be a time waster and a distraction, also has the ability to join believers across the miles.  It joins my heart with a sister that I've never met and it allows me to feel what she is feeling and join her in prayer and praise!  It takes me to Uganda where I can share with a sister there, whom I have met, and it puts me in her daily happenings while she serves Jesus with her whole heart.  It takes me over to Hungary, where I can join friends in praying for the people there as they pour themselves into the lives others.

the view on a county road, filled with His glory

It also keeps me right here, in my little county, where I can offer encouragement to friends and family, through the posts of others and my own words.  To help support the body through social media is an extraordinary thing.  I know alot of people scoff at the idea of blogging, I know that it crosses the lines of privacy and that it seems silly to talk about people that we've never met, like we know them personally.  I get that and I struggle with that as well, but I have to tell you.  I think it's a beautiful opportunity to catch a tiny glimpse of God's view from up there.  He is Sovereign, He knows all, and sees all, all around the world.  Social Media gives us that same opportunity, in a way, to get inside someone elses life, to share in their fears & hopes.  To pray for people half a world away and feel like we are connected.  Because, after all, we are the body, and the body IS connected, right?

we're all in this together
a little community of gingerbread people <3

So, today, take notice of how social media is being used for His glory and maybe take a step into that crazy world and see where He leads you!!  (the key word being HE......I recognize that social media has some very dangerous paths, we must be alert and choose wisely)

finally found a home for my antique chalkboard <3

God bless you friends <3  Enjoy the season, prepare your heart for the Advent season, deck your halls and I'll see you back here next week!!

sing His praises <3
 
God Bless - Lorraine
 
*before I finalized and published this post, I ended up with one child at home!!!  My how quickly life changes before you!!!