Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas What If

source
Seriously, would you have anything right now? Would you have a place to stay? Would you have a job? Would you be in a relationship? Would you have hair? teeth? Would you even have life???

One of my favorite pastors Bob Coy spoke on Sunday about being thankful. His message confirmed to me yet again that I need to keep refocusing my attention to what is important during this Christmas season. His first question was what I posted above and sadly I know that if God gave me according to my thankful attitude lately, I would be desolate or dead right now!
It is so easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas festivities and giftings to the point of stress and hurt during a time that should be filled with joy, merry making and gratitude.
So, what's a person to do? Well Bob gives us three ways to get us started.
1. To cultivate a thankful heart, appreciate what you have

David in Psalm 23 may not have gotten everything he "wanted" but he did have everything he needed. I don't prefer the Message Bible but I do love how this particular psalm reads. You can find that here
2. To cultivate a thankful heart, invest for a better future (both on Earth and in Heaven)

Offering a helping hand to a coworker/neighbor goes a long way in improving your relationship with these individuals but it also adds stocks and options in your heavenly portfolio. And this is just one example!
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rus destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  -Matthew 6:19-21
3. To cultivate a thankful heart, give unlimited grace just as you have been given unlimited grace.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" - Ephesians 1:7
Isn't it wonderful how God confirms how He wants us to live our lives? Here I am trying to become a more thankful person, counting my way to 1000 gifts, learning more about God's grace AND THEN in one sermon I hear the same messages repeated!!! I so love the fact that my heavenly Father cares enough to point me in the right direction over and over and over and over again :)

Thank Pastor Bob for your convicting message this week. If I lived close to your church I would so come there!!!

So dear reader, my encouragement once again to you is focus on what is most important. Be an encourager and when shopping/cooking/partying/gift wrapping threaten to take your joy away, remember Who we are celebrating and thank Him for all He has done for you today.

In Christ, MrsH
Linking to Living Well Wednesdays and A Holy Experience

Monday, December 19, 2011

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Origins

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns. Every time I hear the words I am reminded of the fact that this life is full of sorrow whether my own or of those around me. Yet in the midst of all the sorrow, I know that I know that I know God is always with me!

I looked up the origin of the song and it only served to make this song dearer to me. It was penned by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) who experienced his fair share of tragedy. His wife died tragically from fire and his son Charles was crippled from war wounds. Christmas at this time in his life was not a happy occasion. Think about it, his countrymen were fighting amongst themselves, his wife was dead and now his son was severely wounded. Here are some excerpts from his journal around Christmas time:
How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.”
"I can make no record of these days. Better to leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace."
Indeed thinking of “peace on earth” while people were fighting everywhere, seemed a little ironic to him. In fact his poem was pretty much against war even though it is very Christmas-y. Three stanzas are omitted from Casting Crowns version, two of which refer to the Civil War.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cheer in our home

So, I am falling in love with totally smitten with Pinterest. Granted it can become a time waster but I have to say that it is a creative way to figurative things you have always wanted to do or find projects of things you did not know existed but now you simply have to do - ok maybe you don't have to but you want to...


As I have been surfing the Pinterest site and pinning anything and everything that caught my fancy, I decided that I need to start making stuff instead of just adding to a "future list". To date I have made a monogram as a wedding gift which you can see in this post and then this past weekend I made a beautiful wine bottle centerpiece inspired by this pin:


The design and how-to can be found at Cleverly Inspired. When I saw it, I knew that some craftiness would be flowing in our household this Christmas. Here is my version of this centerpiece:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Can you smell it? I sure can!

That wonderful tingling anticipation
The crispness in the air
The aroma of beautiful inspiring interesting creativity seeping from our pores
Of course we all know it means that Christmas is HERE!!!

It has been aptly named the most wonderful time of the year and yet.......it can be the most stressful as well right? I mean we have to ensure that the outside lights are hung right after the Thanksgiving meal is cooling in our bellies.
We must find cute Advent calendars to put out so that we can have a tangible Christmas countdown
Of course the perfect Christmas tree has to be found and decorated soonest!
And, how can I forget, we need to start sending out those cute either hand-made Christmas cards or the perfect photocard or that jaw-dropping ecard amiright???

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's not about me

Happy Wednesday! The week is already half gone and I still feel like there is so much to do...
I would like to share a quick poem that I carry in my Bible as a reminder that this life is not about me – it really isn’t! But the way I live you would think that it is!! These words are sobering and I truly pray that God helps me to be less about me but more about Him.
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught,
and you don't sting or hurt with the insult or oversight,
but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ
that is dying to self.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MIA recap and Thanksgiving

Hello my dear readers! I can't believe that I have been out of blogland for so long!!! I guess I suffered from case of writer's block and as I mentioned before, I did not want to write posts just to write them... so a little time off turned into almost two months. How time flies! I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to catching up with you :)

Here is a recap of what I have been up to *this may turn out to be a long post*

Early October MrH and I went to Georgia for his niece's birthday. Since the trip takes over 7 hrs we decided to make it a little more fun by incorporating some stops along the way. So first stop was Lane Orchards

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend fun

Last weekend MrH cleaned out the garage and found a stash of my forgotten window markers, so what's a guy to do?
.
.
.
Challenge me to have a "Who is the artist of the house" competition of course!!
MrH's lovely flower
My awesome tree without leaves

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY: fridge magnets

I seem to be having a crafty streak of late!! Well technically I shouldn't say "I" since for the last project MrH did most of the work and I just supervised ha!

Today, I wanted to show you these darling little magnets I made Sunday afternoon. We have these cute coffee magnets I picked up at a thrift store but they barely hold one piece of paper. So we've been talking about buying magnets...since September 2010 ... no kidding!! I know they are not costly and you can find pretty good ones anywhere but we just never seemed to remember to get some.

We weren't even looking for them on Sunday when we stopped by wally world after church but we just happened to be on their aisle and picked up a pack of 18 for $2. Inspiration suddenly hit me and I decided I wanted to have unique decorations. So I hunted for something to decorate with and found some cute wooden beads for $4.

Back home I set to work with the magnets and beads

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Counting more gifts

Just continuing from where I left off:
#145 beautifully pink, refreshingly sweet watermelon
#146 relistening to sermons that just revive my spirit
#147 Saturdays when both MrH and I get to sleep in
#148 planting seeds in our garden
#149 getting to see sprouts exactly seven days later
#150 celebrating a dear friend's 50th birthday
#151 laughing so hard at same party that I could barely breathe

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reflecting on thankfulness

I haven't updated my list of gifts in a while. At first I was busy but honestly, after awhile it was because I got lazy. Sadly I have realized that the longer I stay without counting, the less I look all around for things to be thankful for.
I am taking more and more for granted as if what I have, I have always had. Forgetting even that this very breath I take is a gift.

I was going to write a lovely post filled with lots of things that I am thankful for but that would be forced. I would be filling it with the now, the immediate that I notice around me, what I consider to be nice to mention as gifts. 
But am I truly thankful?
Is it just writing in order to direct traffic to my blog?
Am I really seeing the gifts...
...or is it all just lip service being offered up to God?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

DIY: Laundry Basket Dresser

I recently came across this awesome website called Ana White HomeMaker. One word for this site: AWESOME!!! There are so many projects for DIY lovers ranging from easy to pro, pocket-friendly to only-in-my-dreams.
So as I was perusing the site, practically drooling on my computer, I read the post about building a laundry basket dresser and immediately bookmarked the page because I knew some day I would have to make it.


On my birthday, MrH being the sweet man that he is, surprised me with a note that promised me a weekend of DIY-ing (is that a word?) Obviously I was super-duper excited and so last weekend we went shopping for the required materials.


We followed the directions all the way through and only made a little tweak in measurements since our laundry baskets were a little wider and longer than the ones Ana used. We also decided not to use the metal angles to hold up the baskets but some spare wood instead - you'll see in the pics below. Two days, two trips to the store and three paint coats later, our dresser was finished and I am so happy with the results. I got to use a circular saw too so YEAH!! 
preparing for the first cut

Monday, August 8, 2011

On Approaching God

We are currently going through Jeremiah during Wednesday night church and this past week we covered chapters 19 - 20. I have to admit that as we go through this book, the chapters are coming alive in a very different way. Honestly, I struggle a lot with the OT. The book which are mostly stories  like Esther, Ruth, Genesis, Judges, etc are quite easy since they are narratives but once we get into the prophets, my eyes start to glaze over
However, God has given our pastor the ability of taking these hard passages and breaking them down for people like me. Over and over again I am surprised at how much more understandable these books are now! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

family vacation whoop!

MrH's family is in town. I am really happy because I have finally have time to spend with them that is not centered around an event. Of course with coming down to Florida guess what they want to do the most...beach!!!


So for the next week when I am not at work I will be working on my tan with my dear hubby


Gotta lurv summer in sunny Florida!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We've been married a year!

My oh my. Where has the year gone to? I can't believe that MrH and I have already been married for a year. Seems like only yesterday we went out for dinner then had that awkward conversation trying to define where *this* was headed. Little did we know then that in a year's time we would be repeating those sacred vows that so many have said before us.
the day I said screamed yes!
It truly seems like yesterday yet as cliché as it sounds, I can't imagine life without MrH. I had intended to make this a post about things I have learned in my one year of marriage; however, I find myself once again with a song in my heart, a smile on my face and overwhelming thankfulness at the blessings my Father has showered on me. This year had its ups and downs but I would like to think that I am wiser for the mistakes I have made and I look forward to an ever better second year!

We made a reservation at a local resort and stayed there for the weekend. It was so much fun! We did so much of...nothing! It was wonderful to be able to de-stress and let the world slow down.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Enjoying the routine


As many people say, when we got back from our vacation we felt like we needed a vacation from our vacation because of all the running around we did. It has been really good to come and get back into the groove of things as they were before. Even work! It may sound weird but it is good to have my hands busy again and realize that I must schedule some things otherwise they won't get done (um...laundry!)

So today this is the first thing I am thankful for as I continue counting the gifts
(94 ~ 112)
#94    routines that help make life disciplined
#95    time, precious moments spent with my parents
#96    dinner with my cousins
#97    love outpouring from same cousins in the beautiful present they gave us
#98    pure joy of reuniting with old friends
#99    bittersweet acknowledgement that we all must grow and change
#100  planes that have made far places that much closer!
#101  God who gives men the knowledge to make and fly the planes
#102  a beautiful life lived for Christ, a challenge for me to do the same
#103  storm clouds ripe with rain
#104  lightning as it divides the sky

#105  a friend has a miscarriage, her husband has surgery, us visiting to offer encouragement, love, prayer yet leaving their house as the ones who are encouraged!!
#106  sweet loving hubby who let me stay overnight at a friend's while he was left to take care of the messy house (and he did!!)
#107  3 hr coffee conversation at Starbucks
#108  gleaning marriage wisdom from my sweet friend Heather
#109  fellowship and laughter at lifegroup – great to be back!
#110  crossing off my 26 before 26 list J
#111  witnessing my eldest brother repeat the sacred vows to his beloved, remembering my own
#112  looking forward to celebrating one year of marriage to MrH this coming weekend

I'm in the 100's whoo hoo!!! Won't you join me in counting all the blessings we receive every day? I'd love to read yours!

Linking to:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kenya: sightseeing Part II

So after we visited my hometown, we decided on a mini 'vacation' just a chance for MrH to see more of the beautiful Kenyan land. We went on an overnight trip to a town called Naivasha together with my parents. This town is famous for national parks, mountains but especially for its flower exports. While there I learned that about 60% of flower exports to Europe come from here! That was pretty cool. Naivasha is also located in the Great Rift Valley. While here we visited a national park called "Hell's Gate". The name was given due to the hot springs found inside a gorge located in the park. Here are some of the wildlife we saw.
buffalo
warthogs - anyone remember Pumba??
This was the part MrH and I enjoyed most on this day - going through the gorge!

MrH and I at the entrance to the gorge

So this is where Tomb Raider II was filmed!
This water was hot! You could place an egg in it and would be ready in 10 minutes!!!


 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kenya: sightseeing

Here are some highlights of the places we visited in Kenya.

Nairobi - Kenya's capital
We landed in Nairobi on Sunday and stayed for four days. We went to the business district aka downtown. It was a cloudy day so I was not able to capture the buildings as well as I would have wanted. Still, it was wonderful to see how the city has changed and grown. MrH did not care to much for it - can't say I really do either since it is very busy. It actually reminded me of New York.

We were at the top taking pictures

Kenya's first president

Public transport vehicle
My hometown
We then went to my hometown where we held a celebration of our marriage since a lot of my relatives weren't able to attend the wedding.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sad day

I just learned today that a former college mate passed away. Alyssa Stolvoort was battling cancer and yesterday she went to be with her Savior and King. Her story is one of courage and positivity even in the midst of pain. If you can read her wall you will see how many lives she has touched by the way she lived. At this moment I am reminded that this life on earth is but a vapor that appears for a while and is soon gone (dear Alyssa was only 23 years old!).


May I humbly ask you dear friends, pray? For her husband, her family, his family as they go through this hard time that God would be their refuge and strength.


Good bye Alyssa, Praise God that you are now pain free and I await the day I will celebrate with you in eternity

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kenya: the flight

This is the tale of how a 23 hr flight, turned into a 50 hr nightmarish experience. That’s right, we more than doubled our flight time on the way to Kenya. How does that happen?

before we knew what was in store

Well, it starts with a thunderstorm. Fact: Planes do not land during storms when lightning is involved. We had already left our home state and made the 2.5 hr flight to airport X (name withheld to protect the guilt…er…innocent? J) Our layover was supposed to be 5 hrs. We thought this layover was pretty long. Little did we know how long it would become [insert sad background music here]. The plane was delayed for 3 hrs. This was not too bad because we could have still made our connecting flight. However, things went from bad to worse. The computers for airline Y froze/crashed/were unresponsive so our flight got cancelled at 12.30 a.m. You read that correctly, after midnight!!! To add salt to injury, we were told that we would need to come back at 4.00 a.m. in order to reconfigure flights for our trip!
We ended up spending the night on the cold hard floor of airport X with nothing but our jackets to warm us up. At about 3.30 a.m. we got in line to talk to an airline representative who was very lacking in compassion and customer service skills. She actually proceeded to tell us that the earliest flight she could get for us would be Monday…um…it was Saturday 4 a.m. and the earliest flight would be two days from then??? It was unbelievable! We asked her to check for alternative routes into Europe but she just would not do so. It was at this point that despair kinda started to set in.

3 hrs into our flight delay


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack!!

Hello friends,
MrH and I have officially completed our world tours. Ok so we only landed in three continents which isn't quite half of the world but we still feel quite worn out. We had a horrible, bring-me-to-tears a few flight mishaps on our way to Kenya but I will tell you about that later. I must admit that in the midst of it all I could feel God prompting me to be thankful and to look for the good despite the stress that was going on.

We had a wonderful time and I think one memory I will treasure forever is seeing MrH and my mom hugging each other :) Here are some pics from our trip. I will write a more detailed post later on this week.

Nairobi Skyline

MrH with his mother-in-law

Monday, June 13, 2011

Excitement is in the air!!!

So I am really really really really excited. The reason you ask? Well, at this time on Friday MrH and I will be well on our way to Kenya :)

Side Note:
In case anyone is a little...ahem...geographically challenged(?) Here is a quick summary of Kenya.



source: Wikipedia
 
Kenya is a country in East Africa. Its capital city is Nairobi. Kenya has numerous wildlife reserves containing thousands of animal species. It has a land area of 580,000 km2 and a population of nearly 39 million residents, representing many different peoples and cultures. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and the second highest mountain in Africa.

 

the national flag. source: Wikipedia
  Why Kenya? Well because that is where I am from. I am really excited for MrH to meet all my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc but most importantly, he will finally get to meet my mother!! Due to circumstances we could not control, mom was unable to come over for our wedding - but God is so good because what I thought was devastating (made the wedding a little bitter-sweet) was actually neccessary since my grandpa (mom's dad) passed away a few weeks after our wedding. Had my mom been here she would have been crushed not to be at home for her mother. That is a whole other story.

Monday, June 6, 2011

He IS the Provider

MrH is a teacher. This year was his first year teaching and even though this year had its ups and downs, I definitely know that MrH found his calling. His principal and peers all like him a lot and his principal is really impressed with his work ethic and innovation. What a wonderful thing to know that you are doing what God is calling you to do and seeing that confirmation in so many different ways.


That is why it was such a blow when 4 weeks ago we found out that MrH may not have a job next year....


Due to budget cuts, the county in which MrH and I reside decided not to renew the contracts for a bunch of 1st and 2nd year teachers. This was not to say that they would not have a job next year, but rather it meant that the probability of getting a job was much smaller. My reaction when I heard the news was not favorable. I tend to worry a lot so in my mind I was already thinking about how we need to readjust our budget and how and where we could tighten our belts so that we could still make ends meet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dare to answer the commission

I have a confession.
I am terrified of witnessing.
I truly want to reach out to my neighbors, co-workers, friends, extended family, etc with the words of truth but I am so afraid.
Afraid of floundering and stammering

Afraid of mixing up my verse references/saying something that
 is not biblically sound

but ultimately…

Afraid of being mocked and rejection of God’s word

 

 
So the sermon passage on Sunday kind of hit me squarely in the face

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Colossians 4: 2 – 5

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Random - I got love on my mind

Just wanted to share one of my fave songs. I think I will prolly listen to this song 5 times today.
Remind the ones you love that you love them. Don't just think it, SAY IT!!!


I'm in love with a wonderful guy :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
How true! Seriously it feels like I closed my eyes and suddenly May is almost over…and I haven’t written anything in almost three weeks!! I wish I could say that time was flying because I was having fun. It is more like the busyness of work,  throw in learning this wife-y role (read: trying to make quick but healthy foods and switching them up so life doesn’t become boring but running out of ideas) plus throw in this online course I am taking…aah!

What a life! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything J
This past weekend was very nice. MrH had wanted us to have a sunset picnic on the beach the prior weekend but we had a storm come through so we did that this weekend. It is funny because we live very close to the beach but only go when family come into town or if friends decide to have a BBQ there. The day had been a scorcher but the evening was nice and humidity was low making it the perfect evening


our lovely picnic ensemble



this was cool - a ship right in the middle of the sun
  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Weekend...nine months!

Our nine month anniversary was this past Saturday so we celebrated in style: washed the outside windows, got my hair did while MrH mowed the lawn, went grocery shopping and finally ate pizza while watching a movie.
Ok so maybe you may not think that it was terribly romantic but we had a great time just relaxing and snugging together after a long busy day. After all, that is what it is about  - being together!


I can't believe how fast time is going though! I feel like it was just yesterday I getting ready be united with the man I love. Yet, at the same time, it feels like we have always been together...does that make sense? I can't really imagine life without the wonderful blessing known as my husband.



Monday, April 25, 2011

AWARD ALERT!!!

I am humbled. My paltry attempts at blogging have caught someone's eye! I certainly do not deserve this award and I humbly thank Mindy B @ My Own Sense and Sensibility for this undeserved honor.


The only condition for receiving this award is to Pay It Forward. Here are the requirements:
  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Select 15 recently discovered, stylish bloggers to receive this award
  • Contact these bloggers and tell them they have been selected. Hopefully, this will make their daySmile
So before anything else, THANK YOU MINDY B. you TOTALLY rocked my day!!!

Seven random things about me: 
  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Jesus did for us...for me!

Easter, like Christmas, happens every year.
Easter, like Christmas, involves the 3Fs (food, family, fellowship)
Easter, like Christmas, may include a new clothing article
Easter, unlike Christmas, does not include frenzied shoppers, naughty and nice lists, gifts or (for the most part) decorations inside and outside the home
Therefore, Easter,unlike Christmas, is not considered such big of a deal.

How wrong we are to think this way! Easter should be the biggest holiday we celebrate every year for without Easter(Christ's death, burial and resurrection) we would not have this glorious chance of fellowship with our Maker as we would still be in our sins!

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.(1 Cor. 15:14-19 emphasis added)

Why would we celebrate the birth of a person who did not change our circumstances in anyway? But, Praise the Lord that He did! Praise the Lord that the veil is torn and direct access to the Father is granted! Praise the Lord that we have an intercessor who sympathizes with our weaknesses, as He has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin(Heb. 4:15)

But what did it cost You Jesus? Can I truly understand the magnitude of the sacrifice You offered for us, for me?