Advent

This year Christmas feels different. First, we will get to have a real Christmas tree this year and I am so excited about it. But that’s not the only thing, I’m finally studying Advent.

This past Sunday was the first day of advent and our Church served communion, it felt purposeful and special. It also helped that Chad and I got a chuckle when Birdie “yummed” audibly when she ate the bread.

Steph and I are reading through a couple of resources and we wanted to invite you jump in and study along with us.

http://instagram.com/lifeingrace

  • She Reads Truth – Advent Study

You can follow along on their website for free or download the app and purchase the study for a few bucks. http://shereadstruth.com/plan/advent-2017-joy-to-the-world/

Sunday thoughts

*Steph here*

Today was eventful and it’s only 10:30 am. 

Our neighbor’s pup pinned one of our chickens. It’s our fault, I didn’t put them up last night. Our neighbor was trying to call his dog off while I ran through the backyard in my pajamas! 


I stood between the dog and my maimed chicken. Rinnah asked if the pup got by me while I was trying to save her-“no way, I said! I’m a county girl.”

I’m now all dressed up and waiting at the Methodist Church to attend services with Holly while my Mom takes the kids to our church ( they really didn’t want to miss).

Are you enjoying this beautiful Sunday? 



Stephanie

Joy in the morning

*Holly here

We have just come through a difficult season.  We had hoped I would be expecting another baby, but our second try at IVF was unsuccessful and even though I knew that was possible, I was shocked, hurt and disappointed.  

Perfect timing – Chad planned a great vacation and I needed it so badly.  The first morning I took Birdie to the indoor pool to swim and as we visited with another family in the pool, I felt God gently showing me that none of us are free from pain or disappointment.  I remembered the part of Psalm 30:5 that Lynn, my sister, mentioned recently ( while talking me through a big cry / feel sorry for myself phone call)

“… weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5

We had such a great vacation.  ( by the way, he is a great planner of vacations – my idea of vacation planning is getting in the car and hoping we come across something great – not great). 

Our first stop was the St. Louis Zoo and it was free to get in.

Then we took her to The Magic House.  If you can get to the St. Louis area, you need to stop here!  

He rented a room at Big Cedar Lodge for a few nights and we drove down to the Branson area from St. Louis.  The beautiful landscapes and mountain views felt healing  and a reminder to my heart of God’s love and care.  Matt 6:28-30


The view from our room


Floating down the lazy river


I had to see this chapel on the property, when I saw it in the brochure.  We were walking through it and Chad said something like ” this looks like you designed it” – what a compliment!  I also took some pictures of it, after dinner our last night there.


It is vacation season and I hope you can have memory making experiences ( even if at home) like we did. 

Blessings to you,

Holly

Remembering

* Stephanie here

I was looking back, way back through Holly’s instagram pictures log last night. As I looked at the pictures, I remembered all the dreams, worries, strife, and joy that were part of those times. When I awoke this morning it became very clear that God has brought us through many lovely and difficult times and remembering that He is so faithful is wonderful. As the pictures jog my memory, I remember the worrying that I did during these times and now I see it was ridiculous. I wish I had enjoyed all of life more.


Stephanie

Pretty Fabric and Art

I just felt like this day may need to start with some beautiful art. 

F Schumacher -Featherfest wallpaper

Abstract Art- Lucy Williams

Art Gallery Fabric


Art Gallery fabric ( voile)


Robert Roth


All I have need thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness.

Please consider the beauty God created today and all the ways he is calling out to you.

Stephanie

Number the Stars

A few Christmases ago, I was given Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as a gift from my Boss.  She is actually my friend too.

Anyway, for some reason I haven’t read it yet.  As the rain poured down this afternoon, I looked over on the side table and saw the book.  It seemed like a good time to start reading, it’s a pretty slight little book and I was hooked by the third page.

numberTheStars2

This is an incredibly gripping story (fiction) based on Denmark during the Holocaust and their humanity toward the Jewish Danes.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t read stories with even a hint of evil toward children or the weak.  Amazingly, this book told the story of life in Denmark, during this incredibly indecent period but didn’t lead me to conjure up evil images in my mind.

I tried to read some to the kids while we ate Pizza, but they just kept saying, “Why don’t you read us Junie B?”

My favorite part of the book is during the tensest moments of the escape, the leader reads the Bible to soothe the group (both Christians & Jews).  He reads Psalm 147:

Praise the LordFor it is good to sing praises to our God;
    for it is pleasant,[a] and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.

As our country and really the whole world see the evil abounding, we cannot forget who we are and mostly who God is.  He has not forgotten us.  Now would be the time to Praise Him.

*I hope you will read Number the Stars and be encouraged.

If you are a teacher, there are some pretty fantastic teaching guides for this book.  Here are a few I found.

Scholastic Guide

numberthestars3

Teacher Park Guides

Stephanie

 

Endless Ocean, God Almighty

endlessocean

Job 11: 8 (from the Message Bible) says, ““Do you think you can explain the mystery of God? Do you think you can diagram God Almighty? God is far higher than you can imagine, far deeper than you can comprehend, Stretching farther than earth’s horizons, far wider than the endless ocean.”

When I get to a place where I see life only thru my eyes, it always helps to understand who God really is and who I really am.  He is the Almighty God and I am his daughter (because I have committed my life to Christ).  My place/standing is defined by who He is.

I’m loving this song.

*I have friends who are awaiting cancer scan results today.  Please pray for M&JD.

Stephanie

Walking in the lighted dark

Last night me and our oldest went walking. We really try to give each of our children special time. The things we say when no one else is vying for attention seem important. Last night was important for me and him ( I hope).

We walked from our house, holding hands. Even though he won’t hold my hand hardly in daylight, I know he’s good with it on the slightly spooky walk. 

We talked about what he remembered from living in our old house and his earliest memories. Then onto more deep thoughts, like what to do when someone is angry with you. Waiting and praying before responding is wise, if a response is even required. Caring about people even when they are angry, emotional, and lost in their own thoughts is best. Sometimes the caring looks like praying and keeping a kind heart toward them. He added and “I know this, if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything.”

Young son, caring for people is hard but God saw people as so valuable that he provided the most costly way for people to be brought back into relationship with Him. It’s important; God cares for people, and we will too.

Painted in Waterlogue
Blessings to you on this beautiful Sunday, Stephanie

I Love Jesus

I love Jesus copy

I had a vice, I cussed a little (sometimes a lot ).  This t-shirt used to make me laugh until I finally realized that cussing made me feel bad about myself.  Who needs that.  It was almost like I was a slave to my emotions.

So, I decided…I’m not doing it anymore.

I read this in the Bible this morning.

John 15:15

I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.

Stephanie