Mom and Me Time

Time with our children is precious and fleeting. Here’s a post written about how I tried to make the most of my time with my girls; I pray it will emcourage you today!

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Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and, without doubt, one of England’s greatest statesman.

Mother’s understand that kind of sacrifice. That’s the kind of love we have for…

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Sabbatical – Part 4

AWAY.

That’s what we are. Sabbatical means we are AWAY from our church for a time.  Deciding on what church to attend in the area has been difficult.  Our hearts are at Boones Creek every time we know the door are open, but while our bodies are away, our prayers are for whatever is going on there at that moment.

Last week we decided to attend two different churches on Sunday morning to get a fresh perspective, and to encourage that pastor and wife of one church, with whom we are friends.

It was a special blessing to surprise our friends.  They are doing a great work out in the country in a beautiful setting.  It made me so thankful for the men who work bi-vocationally so that these dear ones will have a pastor to shepherd them and give them God’s Word.  The hymns  rang out in that country corridor as well as in our hearts.  As we rest, we, too are “Leaning on the everlasting arms,” resting in our Savior.  The special music my sweet friend sang was as beautiful as the setting in which it was sung.  It flowed out of her love for those she helps her husband care for. They had some wounds of trials, and her song was the balm they needed.  Thank you, Mary.

Sitting side by side in worship services is a blessing for a couple who are always apart in their own church!

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I am a homebody.  I love my routine.  I love my bed.  I love the coziness of waking up in my own home with my coffee maker perking first thing in the morning.  But sometimes you just need to get away from all the duties that home calls you to every day – things like dusty furniture and dirty laundry.  So, this week, we went AWAY.  This was the first time we were gone for more than an overnight stay during our sabbatical.  I have to say it was good – very, very good.

160818_131743_collage-1.jpgWe went to the nearby Smoky Mountains for three nights this past week.  We had the fun of Alli and her husband joining us for the first day and night – his day off.  We went to Dollywood for the day and had a great time at the park.

Our accommodations were very nearby and offered beautiful views of the mountains and a lovely pool to enjoy.  The days were very hot, so it was a blessing to read a bit, then jump in and cool off!  This routine was repeated MANY times during the day!  Along with my Bible and journal,  I took a stack of books with me to the pool area.  I’m happy to say another book was checked off my list by the time our stay was over!

From our chairs we could see this hot air balloon each day.  It only enhanced the view of the mountains – not that they need any improvement!

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One of my goals is to Reload – so each day I have dug in and journaled about what the Lord was saying to me.  How rich and sweet God’s Word is.  Whether you’re in a corner of your home, on the sofa of a resort, or on a chaise lounge, God’s Word speaks if we slow down enough to stop and listen!

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The pictures below are of one of our favorite places in Pigeon Forge – Old Mill Pottery Cafe’.  We had lunch here on the day we left to come home.  We love to eat outside, and that’s where we started, until the rains came and drove us inside!  They bake bread and all kinds of confections, but we go for their main entree’s and we ALWAYS share a meal because they are large portions.

Anywhere you look, it’s beautiful outside of their restaurant.  Another thing I love about it is that they serve all their meals on the pottery dishes that are made in the building next door – hence the name – Pottery Cafe’!

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It’s been another week of some incredible blessings for which we feel so unworthy.  Our God is so good and HE is always near and never  AWAY.

Where were you this week and what did you do?

Stay refreshed,

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Spend It All On Others

I am married to a man who has taught me so much about building relationships with people.  He’s always on the lookout for how he can make someone else’s life better, sweeter, or closer to God.  He does that with me, he does it with his friends, and he does that with strangers.  When you spend time with someone who has a large heart, the time goes so quickly.  They welcome you into their life.  They look you in the eye.  When you speak, they listen with their ears and their heart.

When I recently read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, it is obvious that he also had a magnanimous heart towards others.  Here’s what he said about his time spent with these people:  II Corinthians 12:15 –

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you…

In other words, I will gladly spend whatever is needed for you.  That would include:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Energy
  • Effort
  • Thought
  • Preparation
  • Resources
  • My very life

Think about those with whom you’ll be spending time with today – your mate, your children, lost co-workers, a friend.  Will you GLADLY spend yourself for them?  What would that look like if you did? When you’re with them will you be “spent” when you are together?  Will you allow yourself to be so connected that you’re “spending” while you’re listening?  Will you let your heart love them so deeply that you’ll gladly give whatever it is they need – your full attention, time to pray for them, or even something tangible?

Selfish people really don’t know the blessing they’re missing when they are only concerned about their needs.  Let’s be like Paul today and determine to “be spent” with the kind of love that sent our Savior to the cross. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for His friends, giving us the premium example.

Spend for others today and watch for the blessing that will come to your own life!

With love,

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He’s On Our Team!

During the Olympic games we watch for those stars and stripes-studded athletes.  We cheer them on because, after all, they belong to us!  They’re Americans and so are we!  When Katie Ledecky won her swimming gold medals we cry out, “We won!”  She’s on our team, so she made each U.S. citizen a winner!

Psalm 48:14 says,

This God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.

This God – the God of the universe, the God of might, the God Who answers prayer, the God Who saves and redeems us, the God who loves and forgives, and yes, the God who will care for us even up through the moment of our death – He isn’t just A God, no, He is our God!  He created us to have a relationship with Him.  We don’t have to point down to the Olympic pool and say, “See, there He is!”  No, He is near.  He is present.  He is walking with us, involved in our lives, talking to us.  He is our God.

Have you drawn near to Him today and acknowledged His presence?  Have you picked up His autograph (His Word) and treasured it in your heart today?

We can be even more “proud” that this God is our God than that an olympic winner is on our team.  One day their medals will fade and their glory will wane, but this God is for ever and ever!!  He will be ours that long, too!

Happy Monday!

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Inside the Sabbatical – Part 3

This week I’ve been meditating on Mark 66:31 –

And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while, for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

I’ve been finishing my preparations for speaking at a Pastor’s wives retreat in late September and this is the theme verse for our time together.  When I chose that verse, I had no idea that the Lord would be giving us a 31-day sabbatical; a time to come apart into a desert place to rest.  How good is our God?  I’ve been studying this passage – why Jesus took his disciples away and why we, too, need to find a place to rest.  It’s been a blessing to study and also to practice!

Week Two of our Sabbatical has been a blessing as we’re now in “rest” mode.  It took the first week for my husband to be able to release everything and let his heart, mind and body rest.  So, as we entered this new week, we were geared down to make the most of this time.

Let me share some snapshots of what this second week has looked like.  Ready to step inside the sabbatical?  Here we go…

First let me give you a view of some of the beautiful creation we have seen.

All of these pictures are from day trips within an hour and a half of our home.

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Here are some of the places where we’ve spent some time –

We spent one day in Boone, NC.  All the pictures below on the left side are in Boone.  We enjoyed Daniel Boone Inn, where we had a fabulous feast!  We loved walking through Cornerstone Book Store – the biggest Christian bookstore (and the best) I’ve ever been to!  We also went to Mast General Store in Boone where I saw this stamp machine.  I love that store; it’s full of memories!

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The top right picture is our back porch.  We’ve spent LOTS of time out there.  It’s been a quiet, lovely place to study.  We also eat our meals out there, and one night we enjoyed sitting out there with the soft lights on, watching a movie on my tablet while munching on popcorn.  I call it our “Swing-in Movie!”

Last weekend we attended a wedding near where our daughter and son-in-law live, so we had the fun of staying with them.  We got to walk downtown Greenville and see the gorgeous sites including the Reedy River Bridge.  We went to church with them at their church Sunday morning and heard a great message from Psalm 91 – one of my favoriite psalms.

After church we had a scrumptuous meal at Whitney’s table.  Her husband had to head to work after the service, so wasn’t able to enjoy the meal with us.  However, to be able to be with them on a Sunday and attend their church was a special blessing.

Now for some pictures of what we’ve been doing:

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Studying, reading, swinging, drinking iced coffee and resting.  =)

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From left to right – I’ve been…Coloring cute Bible pictures (I know I’m on sabbatical when I take time to color!), making a seat belt “cover” to keep the seatbelt off my neck, making homemade tortillas and cooking them on the grill, walking in the morning (look at the color of that leaf!  I’m ignoring any sign of fall!!!), enjoying being with my husband on these delightful days, and canning peaches!

That’s not everything, of course, but that gives you a really good peek inside our sabbatical this week!

Now, tell me, when you have time to rest, what do you enjoy doing?

Stay refreshed,

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The Alarm System

A thought to reconsider today…

RefreshHer

Recently I was sitting outside on a bench of a shopping area waiting on my family. It was relatively quiet until all of the sudden a car alarm began to blare, blast, and blow. This alarm was different than others I have heard. It didn’t just go, “HONK, HONK, HONK!” The alarm gave several different kinds of honks with the horn, then it would change and do something altogether different. In between the types of honking sounds it would give four gentle taps with the horn. I half expected a marching band to come parading out of the back seat!

I got up soon after it began to look at the car from the sidewalk, but didn’t see any action around the car that was carrying on so. I expected I’d see a whole band of gangsters prying the doors and windows open with all the racket the car was…

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One Requirement

So you served at your church yesterday?  How did you do it?  I’m not asking at what skill level you played the piano, or taught the children’s church lesson – I mean, how was your attitude and your mindset about your service?

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 4:2 that the only requirement is FAITHFULNESS. That rules out the need to be perfect, flawless, captivating or awesome.  Those are characteristics of our God – not ourselves.

What are we to do?  Just be faithful.

  • Show up
  • Be there on time
  • Be prepared
  • Be enthusiastic

Faithfulness also rules out being

  • Hesitant
  • Half-hearted
  • Obligatory
  • Cynical

When we realize how much we have been given from our Savior, we realize that we have so much to give in return.  It’s our blessing to GET to serve God in any small way – just out of the gratitude of our hearts.  If you serve, yet…

  • no one sees when you miss hearing the preaching because you’re in the nursery again, cradling a crying baby so his mommy can hear the Gospel.
  • You try to convey to the junior age class that God wants them to stand firm like Daniel in this next school year and you wonder if they heard a word you spoke.
  • you sat alone in the service again becuase your husband was serving on security in the church parking lot on this 90+ degree day.
  • no one else saw all the work you did to you prepared a meal for any visitors that might come to church so you could invite them to join your family afterwards.
  • you practiced that offeratory 100 times, and still messed up on that hard part in the middle, but you had to play it because of how that song ministered to your heart during the week.

Be comforted that God sees and knows of your faithfulness – the one characteristic that he requires of us when we serve Him.  He will reward you for it, and it will be worth any small sacrifice we may have made!

Keep on serving faithfully.

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