Read My Apple Tree Story here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Talking Jesus!"

He died for me. I live for Him.

That’s what the t-shirt said on the gentleman that came to do some upholstery work for me today.

I thought, “This is my opportunity.” And I’m a better person because of it.

We stood in my front yard and “talked Jesus.” It was some of the purest 20 minutes I have ever spent.

He told me how he will fail his wife, his child, his parents, his friends, and God, but God is so awesome – He will never forsake us or leave us.

He told me how heartbroken he is because his parents don’t live for God. He prays every day for them to be saved. He fears that when he is home in Heaven, the best place there is, he will look down at his parents in the darkest, worst place possible. I could see the hurt in his eyes.

It made me wonder how he chose God. So I asked him. I asked him how he was saved – how he came to know, love, and live for Jesus.

He responded quietly, “A 4-foot building.”

With tears in my eyes, I listened to his story of the dark place he was in when he fell off the top floor of a 4-foot building. As he was falling, he cried out to Jesus. He cried, “I’m a sinner, but Jesus, please save me.”

And to see how this gentleman turned his life around is truly amazing. His spirit touched my heart more than I will ever be able to describe. I am smiling now. I am genuinely changed by the time God allowed us to spend together “talking Jesus” as he called it. He had that child-like faith and spirit that I long for. I know that God is working on me, though. God plants seeds all around us, all the time. I love recognizing His works.

He died for me.
I am learning to live for Him.

God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

Monday, January 24, 2011

I want Jesus

I want Jesus. I want more of Him. I want to surrender myself totally and completely to God's purposes. I know that only He will bring me the most pleasure and satisfaction in this life here on Earth and in Heaven.

I don't want to be a "lukewarm" Christian. God doesn't want me some of the time ... halfhearted. He doesn't want me on Sunday mornings, and when I am going through a hard or stressful time. He wants ALL of me.

But how do I get there? In all reality, as a mom of 2 young children, I am finding it a struggle to find the time and passion I need to really grow in His word and truly shine for Him. My desire is present, but I am struggling.

How do you do it?

God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Little Nudge

I enjoyed a wonderful, much needed conversation with a special mentor last night. In our talking, she made me realize that God is nudging me in several areas of my life right now. Sometimes these little nudges are obvious, and other times it takes us awhile to acknowledge them.

I am struggling with a few areas of my life right now, and I am so grateful that I am able to see and recognize God nudging me in ways to learn more about Him and has opened my heart more every day to have that burning desire to shine for Him.

I learned of a great growing activity from a dear & beautiful blogging friend, Amy, of which I admire so much. She has been such an inspiration to me and pushes me to grow in my daily walk with the Lord. I have decided to join her in participating in the SSMT (Siesta (Sister) Scripture Memory Team). I am going to learn 26 Bible Verses throughout the year and I would love for you to share in this exciting journey along with me.

The Bible Verse that first came to mind was one of the most powerful verses I can think of and I hold it so close to me each day.

"God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine."
Ephesians 3:20

I will close each of my posts with my SSMT verse as a reminder to both you and me. I would love to hear some verses that are extra meaningful to you.

I am going to leave you with an excerpt from The LPM Blog who created the SSMT. And stop over and say hey to sweet Amy. Let her know that I sent you. You will love her!

"The hard part is not the start. It’s pressing on all the way through the year to the finish. But, then, like all runners that make it across that beautiful line, we get to celebrate a huge victory that only comes to those who sweat it out. We give all praise and glory to our empowering, sustaining God and sit back for a reflective moment, take a deep breath, and feel His glorious good pleasure. Community will become more and more essential as we realize that, without making a public commitment and running the race beside a host of others in this Scripture memory marathon, we’ll probably fizzle out. There is no doubt in my mind that we’re more successful at this together than we are separately. It’s God’s way."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Money for God

Just this morning Ella and I were playing in her room while Wilson was trying to nap. We got her piggy bank out, as she loves separating the different coins into piles, sorting, and making patterns. (We think she’s going to be good in math!)

I watched as she made 2 separate piles. She looked up at me and said, “Momma, this pile is for God.” After thinking a minute, she then said, “But how does it get up to God?” I explained to her that we give it to church, and our church is able to do incredible, amazing things with the money that we give.

She continued sorting and separating. I noticed she had made 4 piles. She then went on to explain to me, in such a grown-up way, that …

one pile was for God, one pile was for our church, one pile was to spend, and one pile was to save.

She gets it. At only 4, she gets it.

(Ella and her daddy before Donuts for Dads. I'm not sure who was prouder!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gold Leaf Crosses

I am so very proud of my mom. She has always been so creative and talented. I wish I had inherited some of those fun and useful genes!

She began making these beautiful GOLD LEAF CROSSES and gave to their friends for a Christmas thought this year. She has had such an incredible response of positive and encouraging praise. She is a very humble person, but I gladly share in her joy and talent!
She made one for me and my family, and I keep it on my kitchen counter where I am constantly reminded to try and live my life to glorify our Almighty Father in all that I am and do. It is a beautiful reminder to stop from the chaos of life and spend a few minutes talking and praying to God and learn something new about His love for us and His wondrous ways.

I want so badly to SHINE for GOD just as these glorious crosses SHINE on my counter.
You shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.
Deuteronomy 26:11

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

God Gives You Rest

I worry. I never even considered myself a worrier until I had children. I suppose it is mostly because my husband and I are wholly responsible for our children. It is solely up to us to teach them, guide them, mold them into good, solid, refined people with quality character that truly love our Lord and want to live their lives to shine for Him. And that is up to me and my husband to do that. I worry that I will fail in guiding them. I worry that I will shield them in this sometimes difficult world too much, or not enough. I worry about them falling and getting hurt physically and I worry about their little hearts getting hurt by friends. I worry about letting go too early … or too late. I worry.

But, what gives me hope, is that when I give my worries and anxiety to God, He takes care of us. He is a loving God and wants and waits for us to “cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7)

I pray for both my children to have a heart for loving the Lord, and also that God will lead and guide us in teaching them all about God’s grace and wondrous ways. I pray that my and my children’s hearts, speech, and actions will honor Him and bring all glory to God, although I know that I often do not live up to my own expectations. What if I fail? What if I lead them down a wrong path? But the important thing is that I pray about it. I know I am not alone. And God knows the desires of my heart.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take."
Proverbs 3:5-6

How encouraging is this?! God truly loves us so much and He cares about every aspect of our lives. He wants to take care of us. He sent His only son to die on the cross so that we may live and sin. That is love. So, if you are feeling down, overwhelmed, or discouraged, not matter how great or small, God cares. Psalm 46:1 says that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

He will give you rest and peace on your heart. Trust in Him. Give it to Him. And do not worry.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ultimate Gift

A dear friend gave me an amazing gift for Christmas ... the gift of friendship along with a very inspiring and encouraging book -- "The Ultimate Gift" by Jim Stovall. I then passed a copy on to another dear friend (in fact Books A Million was sold out when I tried to make the purchase).

There is SO much to be taken from this incredible book. I want to share with you a short excerpt that I enjoyed reading and plan to use in my parenting role.

The Ultimate Gift (The Ultimate Series #1)

     "Unfortunately, human beings cannot live in a vacuum forever. A bird must struggle in order to emerge from the eggshell. A well-meaning person might crack open the egg, releasing the baby bird. This person might walk away feeling as though he has done the bird a wonderful service when, in fact, he has left the bird in a weakened condition and unable to deal with its environment. Instead of helping the bird, the person has, in fact, detroyed it. It is only a matter of time until something in the bird's environment attacks it, and the bird has no ability to deal with what otherwise would be a manageable problem.
     If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destoyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this fact, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future."

If you have shared in the journey of "The Ultimate Gift" I welcome any and all comments and thoughts. I truly believe to be a better, more fulfilled person as I begin in this new year of 2011 because of this gift from a very special friend.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What a Wonderful World

It's been a wonderful past month! I can hardly believe that all the beautiful Christmas festivities have come and gone and we are in a whole new year.

We had a rough start. The dreaded stomach virus hit our family and we stayed in the entire week leading up to Christmas. And although it was a tough time for us and it wasn't fun at all, I hate to even complain because we are SO lucky to have our health.

Because of our sick household, we were devastated to miss our Christmas celebration with Jason's family. Poor, sweet Ella would throw-up and then say to me, "I feel better ... now can we please go to Chesterfield?" It was pitiful. She was heart-broken.

Jason never takes time off. SO ... he took a couple of days off right before Christmas and we invited his parents over and were at least able to spend some time with our fun "Bubby and BB". We cooked lunch and had a truly wonderful, memorable, full day together in our home. It was a special start to an incredible Christmas weekend.

Christmas morning we enjoyed family time with our excited children.

Then headed over to my parent's for brunch. My parents built our home when I was only 2 and my brother was 4, so it truly is home to us. I loved watching Wilson and my adorable niece Anna Chapman interact. They are only 9 days apart.

We are so blessed. It's going to be a wonderful year.


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