Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happiness is...

Funny thing -it was the morning after Christmas and one of my waking up thoughts was "am I any happier?" The thought came from the idea that I had just received some very nice gifts the day before. Gifts that were given from the heart and I thankfully received them. The thought  came from the fact that the week before I was in a lot of different stores hunting for what I was sure would make someones Christmas better.
 It wasn't a rebellious thought.
It wasn't meant to be "Scroogy" at all-just a thought that I pondered a bit,than realized again that stuff doesn't make me happier.
 I am happier because I made more memories with my family. Every year tradition happens and new memories are made. I am happy because I am blessed beyond what I deserve. God has blessed me with the GIFT OF SALVATION & GRACE EVERYDAY. The gift of a beautiful family who loves me unconditionally (and that is a good thing,otherwise I would be in trouble!)
I love this quote from Francis Chan;
" Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made?" 

Now we are in that funny-like week between Christmas and New Years.A week long time frame where when I feel like I'm on vacation but I'm really not.

Usually, we are in Pa.and we do winter "vacationy" things.
This year we are home . My mind keeps wondering if I am on vacation or if I should be working....(it's noon and I am still in my PJ'S -if that tells you anything!)
The children are up the road playing games at cousin's house with more cousins that are down from Ohio.They are having a great time free from school!
I am truly enjoying being a bit of both.Vacationing but yet working. It's great place to be!

Do something fun this week between Christmas and New Year-make a new memory (or tradition) and savor it!

Warm blessings to you,

Friday, December 21, 2012

Missing Something?

It's 4 days to Christmas!
Are you ready?
I ask myself , am I ready?
I check my list,
1.Make candy and bake cookies
2.Gifts for husband,child # 1,2, 3 & son's girlfriend, a white elephant party gift more
3.Christmas tree up
4.Wreathe on front door
5.Pandora music shuffle set
That about covers the "normal" things on a Christmas list.
Am I missing anything? - I feel as though I am.

My mind goes to the Nativity set that I set out every year.
There it is - the manger with baby Jesus snuggled into it.If he wasn't there , I would say again, "something is missing".Something big.The main theme. The whole reason for all this celebrating.
That, my friend is how I have to live my life.Not just during the Christmas season.
E.V.E.R.Y. D.A.Y.
Everyday with Jesus IN IT.
Not snuggled neatly in my heart-sleeping but awake and  alive.
communicating with me & me with Him
So,I determine that this Christmas  I will  enjoy all the traditions,family time,twinkly lights,cocoa and all the wonderful things(yes things) that make Christmas exiting and joyous.
 I will welcome a New Year at the stroke of midnight on December 31st.
During and after, I will walk each day with Jesus in it.I will not only listen for His voice,but be obedient to His instruction.I will be aware of Him ALWAYS.
Join me? I would love it if you would!

A merry Christmas to all and a joyous New Year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Making a Habit "Stick"

New Year is just around the corner.One month from now. But why wait to start a good thing?

Funny thing, it's not in the planning or even in the starting. It's sticking with it- therein lies the rub! 
That's how it is for me anyway...let me tell you!

   I can get a little excited when I read about a new method of doing a particular thing. I begin the Google process,one window leading to the next till I am buried in websites. I used to go to the library and find a book on the subject .Now I can actually just go on Kindle Store and in moments I have a book in my kindle library (only if it's a steal of a deal!) for me to read about, " how to" form this good habit my life. 
This is the part I like,the research, reading the books, taking notes &  figuring out how this method is going to work.

The next thing I know it's a week later and  I come across the information I had gathered and  wonder why I am still struggling in that area.Well , maybe because I never kept up with it- ya think? 
 I've never been formally diagnosed with ADD but there are times when would be kind of nice to blame it on that!  I think sometimes it's just pure scatterbrained,disorganized thoughts. 

Hhhmm I wonder if there is a plan out there to organize thoughts?

It is the last day of November. Tomorrow starts a brand new month,a clean slate.A good time to start a new habit.
 First, let me say I am a pro  "yak shaver". So,this is going to be a REAL challenge!

 Here is the challenge for me.......Drum roll please....

I will have more productive days.I will reach this goal by not only making  lists but actually working on them.I will pick a chore and work on that for at least 1/2 hr. without "Yak Shaving" in other words ,becoming sidetracked.
  They say it takes 14 days to form a habit,surely I can do this for that long. 

Daily Docket 

(I found this "Daily Docket" printable daily organizer on Simple Mom blog.)
 I read somewhere that you should pick a chore and spend at least 15  uninterrupted minutes accomplishing it. So I will try to implement these 2 things,plus other ideas to accomplish this goal.

I heard this just the other day;
  Success = 20% knowledge and 80% behavior"

I say I need to learn behavioral skills!

Is there anything you want to challenge yourself with? It's not New Years yet but let's get started a month early! :)

Endurance.... persistence...self control....

I leave you with a verse to ponder;
"Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; AND TO KNOWLEDGE, SELF CONTROL; and to self-control, ENDURANCE; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:4-8 CEB

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Game Shows and Faithfulness

 If there were a game show called "What If..." where they gave a dose of adrenaline plus worry tonic than proceeded to give life scenarios  asking me to take control of the situation using "what if's" and see how crazy it could get,  I would win every time - I would be a multimillionaire - they would call me back to compete against the best because it would be unbelievable!
 I've been thinking about Faithfulness.
Sticking it out.
Never giving up.
Am I good at that? To answer honestly- no.
But I do know for sure , God is always faithful!
When I am obsessing about something.Holding something so tightly in my grip because I fear that if I let go,if I leave it in anyone's (even God's) hand something is going to go wrong-not as I would want to see it play out.
That is when I begin -
 I  play "what if... " 
God has been speaking to me lately about HIS faithfulness. I keep hearing him say "Caroline, I am not walking away.I am not leaving you out to dry."
There is no situation that God will say "I drew this line,you stepped over it, I can't meet you there."
When I start to go around in circles in my mind, when I play that game I have to take a step back,breathe and ask myself -"What if that actually happened, would God still be there?" I always have to know the big fat resounding answer is always ,always YES!

God is so incredibly patient with me.I feel as though there are times he reaches out his hand accepts what I have surrendered to him only to have me turn around and try to grab it back again.
You know what? He remains.He doesn't walk away shaking his head ,giving up on me.
When I close my eyes and visualize this scene I see my God not only opening his hand to take what I have to surrender but opening both his arms folding me into his chest and smiling over me.
He knows.
He knows He's got it all under control.
He knows that there is hope for me.
I can squirm out of his hold just enough to look up into his eyes and return that smile- because I know it too-
 it just takes me longer.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Taste and See than DO!

I am looking forward to this weekend and all that's on the menu - literally!
It all started this morning already-
I stopped at Detwiler's farm market , I  splurged at the deli counter and got the maple smoked bacon (it was on sale!). I believe there are bacon,cheese melts gonna happen somewhere in this weekend!
This evening, a long- in- planning date with another couple to Pizza SRQ  a local pizza shop that has fabulous pizza  and "to die for" cannolis! I am expecting very animated conversation,laughter and encouragement.  Tomorrow morning I get to meet some friends that I rarely see  for brunch at  Milllies restaurant.We always have a good time ,catching up and sometimes helping each other figure out how to deal with situations we are coming up on in life.  While I am going on about my appetite I might as well add this fact, at this very moment I am enjoying a homemade pumpkin latte .I used this recipe for a ladies night at church last evening  it was a hit. I used  instant coffee (and I am a picky coffee drinker) instead of brewed. It was faster and tasted just fine  :)
 Obviously food wise it is going to be a great weekend .
  On Sunday night as I lay my head on my pillow the question will be this, when I spent that time with friends and family was my character as it should be,were the words that left my mouth, and the images my eyes took in pleasing to God? Ultimately,I need to "Taste and see that the LORD is good..." Ps. 34:8 Than, make being a child of God inviting and "salty" so others will want the LORD too!

 I was looking back over some of my drafts that have been sitting waiting for finishing touches and publication.This one seems very dated  but yet there was a message I thought might be relevant. If not for someone else,than me. :) This one tugs at my heart because since I wrote this Grant no longer takes  lessons from this gentleman but still benefits greatly from the things he learned . Also, The teacher today is in the middle of a huge trial-a trial in life that we all hope to never have to walk through- the death of a loved one (in this case a spouse) .I pray strength and peace over the family.
Here is the draft I was working on:

Beat beat beat...tap tap tap tap...I am sitting here at Grant's drum lesson while writing.I hear them drumming together with his soft spoken teacher giving bits of instruction and encouragement in-between.His teacher is a gentle sort of man with an incredible talents . Grant loves him and has really gotten quite well under his teaching. 
---Been thinking - it takes 2 to to teach one to accept  and apply the instruction. ---
A picture of what God has been working on my mind lately.
The teaching in the Bible that God gives to me.The changes he wants me to make in my life- only I can choose to make.He can instruct,nudge,encourage but I have the choice to do as he asks.We could take Grant to his drum lessons and pay the fee. Grant could  hear the instruction ,watch his teacher give the examples but if  Grant would choose to not  apply what he hears what good is it?  I have been wondering about myself and thinking about the little things that don't necessarily make me "non-christian" but that hinder me from living that fully abundant life. Hearing and reading the instruction but leaving it at that -not choosing to act on it.
Grant in action!

Today I add these thoughts:

 James 1 verses 22-26 "You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves.  Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror.They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they were like.  But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do." 

You know it's a day to day,minute by minute growing experience. It's life. It's why we depend and lean on God.It's why we have each other. It's why we pick up the mirror God's word daily and read the same things again and again. Apply and re-apply.It's not a novel to be read through than to put on the shelf and forgotten. It's our GPS of sorts. we get anywhere by sitting in the garage and punch in the address in our GPS? NO-absolutely not we turn right,make a U turn, recalculate.We follow the direction of the voice or read the guide at the top of the instrument . But than not only to read/hear but to DO.Than , only than do we reach the destination.
We end up exactly in the center of God's will!

Taste and see that he is good-than continue on reading &and  hearing his word but don't stop there- DO IT! :)

Since I was talking so much about food here is some foody eye candy - maybe you will be inspired to create something yummy ....

The children asked for baked oatmeal again- so yum-so simple! Add fresh fruit and milk and you have a great breakfast!

Our family Labor Day supper; Grilled sausage and bratwurst with grilled hot peppers(I buy them ,they eat them.Too hot for me!) Pasta Salad with Olive Garden dressing, Southern sweet tea .)We had Mac and cheese too plus Apple pie and ice cream to finish off the meal but no photos of those dishes)

And finally, a great summer snack.It may be a funny combo but I love it! -Nutella and crunchy Ginger Snaps (from Detwiler's Farm Market)with  homemade vanilla Iced coffee.....

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Brand New Schedule

Today,Monday August 20,2012 is very different from any first day school  in this household ever. I am not sure about this whole thing-I really am not. I have been looking forward to knowing how this is going to go and dreading it at the same time.
I have been spoiled really since Logan was a Kindergartner which was 12 years ago. We enrolled him in a small private Christian school all went well. Courtney and Grant started their school life in the same manner at the same school. Other than one year of Grant going to a Charter School  our schedule has remained the same from August through June.We knew the school well and they knew us.Our last name was hard to say and hard to spell but they knew it and who we were when we called. A comfort zone in the real sense! This year all that has changed. Our "Comfort Zone" closed it's doors and we had to make choices and changes in a few weeks time.After lots of prayer, debate and conversation with Godly council , Grant is enrolled in a small private school,Courtney is homeschooling and Logan does not start school till January(long story).
I know that God has his hand all over this.I know that I shouldn't "worry about tomorrow,tomorrow has enough worries for itself", God has plans for all of us that are for the good and not the bad.I am training diligently to "Pray about everything,(try to)worry about nothing and pray about everything with thanksgiving,giving my requests to God". With effort I try to "think on things that are lovely, pure and true" . (Phil.4:6-9)
I love the way Peterson paraphrases it in The message;

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
 Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."

Some days this is much easier than others and today I will say it's been tough!
At the end of the day all went well, there were good reports and tomorrow is already in God's hands.