Monday, November 30, 2009

A Thirsty Woman by Rachel Olsen

"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)

I sat in the crowded cafe at a bookstore working on my laptop. My stomach growled repeatedly—I'd not yet had lunch. Hunger urged me to pack up and head in the rain to a restaurant but I purposed instead to focus on the project at hand. Then something else caught my attention.

A woman wearing a green rain jacket walked by. I noticed because she walked with the gate of a person with a disability. Several steps past me she stopped, turned and looked at me. I smiled. She spoke to me in incomprehensible syllables. Not sure how to respond, I kept smiling. She repeated her groaning.

"What is it?" I inquired.

After "speaking" a few more sentences, she reached her hand toward me. All her motions were noticeably slow. With her arm extended, she wiggled her fingers while looking at me with soft eyes that didn't seem to fully focus.

Patrons at surrounding tables stared in our direction. The awkwardness was growing. She kept wiggling her fingers, uttering sounds no one understood. I looked around. She was alone. I smiled again and asked, "What do you need?" She came closer, her hand reaching for my wrist. Maybe she just wants to touch me for some reason, I thought.

Instead, she took my hand and pulled me up from my chair. My eyes made contact with the man at the next table. He looked at me with a mix of surprise and questioning. I suspect my facial expression matched his.

She lead me by the hand to the coffee condiments counter that housed a stack of plastic cups and a help-yourself pitcher of water. She grabbed the cup-stack, wrestling four off the top. For over a minute she struggled to separate one cup from the four. I held out my hands in a gesture of help but she never allowed me to reach the cups. I waited.

Once she had her single cup, she pointed to the water pitcher. I lifted it and poured her a glass. She drank the whole thing, and pointed to the pitcher again. I poured another cup. She downed it and reached for the pitcher herself this time. Uh oh, I thought.

I watched, gauging her ability as she attempted to pour her own drink. Moving ever so gingerly, she tilted the pitcher while holding the cup. She seemed in slow motion. Her aim was off a few fractions of an inch, so at the last second I maneuvered her hand with the cup to the precise spot to catch the water.

All this while she didn't look at me or speak to me. I just stood next to her at the counter.

When the cup neared full, I said, "OK." She stopped pouring and drank her third glassful in a row. Wow, she was thirsty. Maybe she just doesn't know when to stop. I wondered if I should cut her off when she began pouring a fourth cup. Instead I let her fill it, as slowly as before.

As she drank that fourth cup, I wiped the small spills from the counter. Suddenly this passage flooded my mind:

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

'Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell yo u the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" (Matthew 25:34-40, NLT)

I'd just been chosen to share water, perhaps with a woman and perhaps with the Living Water Himself. This was the best thing I did all day. All week. All month even. Maybe all year.

After the fourth cupful, a caretaker came and led the woman away. She looked back at me one last time. I smiled. By the time I returned to my seat, the cafe and patrons were no longer watching me or the woman—our interaction at the condiment counter had been lengthy and quiet. They'd gone back to reading their books. I, however, couldn't return to my project. My thoughts were captivated by Jesus' words, and the woman in the green rain slicker.

Dear Lord, I give thanks today for the food and drink on my table. Help me see ways to share it with those less fortunate. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Last Saturday Madison's Soccer Team played in an end of the season tournament. For a bunch of kids they work really hard and we are so proud of them. They've only lost 1 game all season and Saturday they came out #1 in the tournament!!! It was sooo exciting and close. I don't remember the names of the other teams but the scores were 3-2, 3-0, 3-2 and the last game was a killer 3-2 in over time. (Sarah, I washed my hand so let me know if it's wrong)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Madison is really creative. She loves color, fashion and creating things and when she heard Grammy was coming she wanted to learn how to make a scarf. Grammy showed her how and she did a little (Grammy did a lot). Here it is all done and Madison absolutely loves it.
She also showed me how to make one. I've started working one for Cohen. We'll see how it goes:)

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

While Fall was still here I want the kids to make some candy apples. I found a cute recipe for mini candy apples. They were fast and easy to make and the kids loved them. They didn't turn out so pretty but they sure tasted good. Here's the recipe
Mini Caramel Apples

Bite-size versions of the fall fair treat, these tiny "caramel" apples are a great party snack.

4-inch lollipop sticks
Melon baller
Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)
Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (optional)
Small paper candy cups

First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end will go into the apple pieces easier). With the melon baller, scoop little balls out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel. Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the apple pieces dry.

Melt the chips according to the package directions. Dip and swirl the mini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, or coconut, if desired. Place the mini apples in paper candy cups to set.

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown by Micca Monda Campbell

"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before." Joshua 3:4a (NIV)

Do you have a fear of the unknown? If so, then you know how nerve-racking it can be. Fearing the unknown can cause us to live on pins and needles as we spend precious energy anticipating the worst-case scenario. There are two problems with this type of fear:

1. The future is not here.
2. The future is not ours.

While the future may be out of our hands, it's not out of the hands of an adequate and trustworthy God. When we face a worrisome unknown situation, we can look to Joshua as an example.

It's recorded in the first chapter of Joshua that before Moses died, God passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years under the guidance of Moses. Now, their journey was almost over. Just beyond the Jordan River was their promised land—the land that God had guaranteed to Abraham and his descendants.

Upon reaching the Jordan River, Joshua and the Israelites set up camp by the stream and awaited God's direction. Much like their meeting with the Red Sea, God had to make a way for them to cross over the river. On the third day, God told the officers to instruct the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant (where God's Presence abided) to follow it because they had "never passed this way before" (Joshua 3:4). In essence God was saying, Follow Me and I'll see you through this unknown territory.

That's not all. The people were instructed on how closely they should follow the ark. Without this instruction, the people would have crowded the ark and God wanted every person to be able to see His presence eve r faithfully leading them through the unknown valley. What greater encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God who was with them?

You see, friend, the Lord understands our fear of the unknown. He realizes that you may be in a situation that you've never passed through before and you're afraid. It may be the first time you've been without employment. Maybe you've just been diagnosed with an illness or your child is in rebellion. You've never been down this road before and you don't know which way to go or what to do. God will guide the way.

Joshua's life was unpredictable and full of unknowns much like yours and mine. Yet, he successfully resisted fear by keeping his focus on God rather than the events surrounding him. Just as God guided the Israelites through unknown territory, He will guide you and me too. When we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us."

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2,3b, NIV).

Even though the children of Israel were not told how they would pass over the river, the people went forth in faith. We too can move forward in faith sharing in the promised presence of God leading the way through our unknown circumstances.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your promised presence. It comforts my heart to know that I am not alone. Lead me, Lord, through the unknown in my life. Make Your path clear and I will follow it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AJ's parent were here a couple of weeks ago, do you notice where my little red heads get their hair from? We love when they come to visit. All Madison wanted was for Grammy to help her make a scarf and she did. I will post pics of that later.

They had never been to DC before so off we went. One of the things we did that I had never done before was going to the Washington monument. We were waiting and debating on getting tickets (they are free) when some guy gave us his. Up at the top looking out each window they have pictures of what the view was so many years ago and today. It was neat to see the changes. This was the view looking at the Lincoln Memorial.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We have to remember God's ways are not always our ways and we definitely were reminded of that on Thursday when AJ got a all from work. The lady on the phone said "Ens. MacDonald, You're deploying to Afghanistan." his response was "Ok, when?" then she said "January."

We just got up here in June after already being apart for 10 months so that was something we didn't expect to hear or want to. We will continue to "Wait with a Willingness to Pray and Pray with a Willingness to Wait." You would think I'd be use to that by now.

With that on my mind, this is for my baby. I love Toby Keith's songs. This isn't the best video but it was the only one edited.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sister, we've been there through life's sorrow and pain
But together we have always endured the strain
We've argued and bickered and made each other mad
But if you weren't my sister, life would be so sad
We've cried till we laughed and laughed till we cried
Sometimes for no reason we didn't even know why
When we're not together our bond is just as strong
Because we are sisters we know when something is wrong
We've whispered our deepest secrets only sisters could share
I love my sister dearly because she really cares
So whether we are together or we are far apart
Joni, you're my sister, my friend and forever in my heart.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Please Interrupt Me by Lisa TerKeurst

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

I wonder if the greatest witnessing tool available to us Christians is often pushed aside because of our busyness.

The other day I was focused on all the items on my seemingly never ending to do list. As I was sitting at a stoplight a friend called me and started lamenting that her son had forgotten his lunch and his belt required by the school's uniform policy. She was stressed and trying to get in touch with her husband who'd just dropped her son off at school. She was at home with a new baby feeling groggy from a sleepless night and overwhelmed by her situation.

Her son could probably get his friends to share their lunches with him. But, the belt would be a problem. The school would call her when they noticed the missing belt and require her to bring one. She lives over 20 minutes from the school.

As I sat at the stoplight listening to my friend, I looked to the store off to my right. That store has belts. That store has lunch food. I was faced with a decision. Could I help? Well, I could but my schedule would have to be rearranged a bit. Would I help? My friend wasn't asking but in that moment I knew it would be a tremendous blessing for her.

This day I wouldn't let my busyness take precedence over the blessing of divine interruptions and opportunities to love. So, I helped.

I don't know this for sure but I suspect my friend had been asking Jesus to please help her. It's hard being up half the night with a sleepless baby. It's hard to find a new normal when life gets a little off kilter by changes in the family dynamic. It's hard when you need help but feel like everyone is so busy you hate to bother them.

Now, I'll admit, I'm a task-oriented person so it doesn't come naturally for me to look for ways to be interrupted in the midst of my busyness. But sitting at that stoplight, I realized the power of pausing. Pausing just long enough for Jesus to tap on the edge of my heart and say, "Could you? Would you? Do this as if it's the most important part of your day and not an unwelcome interruption."

The Bible teaches one of the most important precepts is love. When we love others we are living the message of Jesus. And listen to what Psalm 19:8 says, "The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."

Oh how many times have I missed the joy of pausing to live and love and light the world for Jesus?

Dear Lord, help me to pause today and remember my great witnessing tool is to simply be available to love others. Show me where I can love. Make me courageous enough to step aside my carefully planned to do list and look for ways to be an answer to the prayers someone has prayed today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Facing My Giants

I Love to eat! But something has to give. I've gained 10 unforgiving pounds since I've been here. I get on the scale all the time but just keep saying it's only 1 pound... and here I am 10 pounds later. Trust me, I'm not a size 6 complaining about this.

I use to be so in shape before I had kids. Not that my babies did this to me but it's much easier to say "My Lovely Lady Lumps" came from having kids rather than I'm lazy and my treadmill is used as a catch-it-all. Sure, I could say I've had 3 C-Sections and this tummy isn't going anywhere without a little professional help and I could also say I just had a baby but he is almost 2 1/2, how long can I keep using that one?
There are many excuses I could use but my guess is if I'm complaining about my weight while eating cookies and milk and watching "The Biggest Looser" there has to be a problem.
I'm always telling AJ..."Maybe I'll wake up one night in a lot of pain and we'll go to the emergency room just to find out I'm pregnant." I could be one of those women who say, "I didn't know I was pregnant." Which would explain all of this, (as I jiggle my stomach up and down)

Knowing i had to start one day I got up this morning and hit the treadmill. I thought I was doing OK until my kids started saying "Run mama, Run." while laughing at me. Never the less I kept going. Anytime I am on the treadmill I listen to 1 song that keeps repeating. Planet Shakers "Cry Holy" it's one of my favorites. I picture a HUGE God sitting on his throne with Golden rays of sun light beaming out from behind him.. And the more the music speeds up the closer I get to him. Just praying and worshiping our Creator. I've even closed my eyes just seeing him with in arms reach but when I did... I fell off the treadmill so now I picture it with my eyes open:)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have you ever bought books for your child from the book fair at school? Well, Scholastic has Warehouse's ever where.. I had no idea. I was told twice a year they have huge sales up to 80% off. If you volunteer for it you get a $10 voucher for every hour you work. Good for the sale. If you volunteer 8 hours you get an $80 voucher.. AWESOME! Go here to find out more information... and see if there is a warehouse in your area

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We have had a busy few weeks. First my parents were visiting and no sooner did they leave that AJ's parents came for a visit 2 days later.. To spend more time with them I didn't get on the computer much, hence the little to no blogging. Needless to say I have some catching up to do...

While my Mom and Dad where here we went to DC. They had never been before so it was really exciting for us to be able to take them. Here we are in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The elevator was broken so we had to carry the stroller up the stairs.. Cohen was so inquisitive about everything. He was really into it, really listening and soaking everything in.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Monday, November 9, 2009

When Healing Never Comes by Wendy Blight

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..." Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

Today she is 16. A newly licensed driver, varsity cheerleader, confident, strong, funny, and beautiful, inside and out.

Then she was 13. Sitting in a doctor's office, between tears and trembling, we heard these words: "scoliosis," "a curvature of the spine," "back brace," " 23 out of 24 hours a day," " two years."

Words cannot explain life those next weeks and months as she faithfully wore her brace ... a brace that deformed her body, caused sleepless nights filled with pain and sorrow, and required her to quit something she loved: competitive cheerleading.

Questions plagued her heart. Why me, God? What did I do, God?

Questions plagued my mind. Why her, Go d? What did I fail to do? Please take this from her and give it to me, Lord...PLEASE!!

I cried out for healing. We obeyed Scripture. Elders of the church prayed over her. I laid hands on her and anointed her with oil. Hundreds of women prayed for her healing.

Healing never came.

Many nights she lay in my bed, locked in her brace, sobbing, asking, "Why me, Mom?" I lay next to her, tears rolling down my cheeks, exhausted, feeling helpless, wondering how we would make it to the other side of this.

Healing never came.

Her back worsened despite the brace, so we tried alternative methods.

Healing never came.

Oh, for a time, they kept her curve at bay—until six months ago. Her curve and the pain resulting from it had increased with astounding speed since then, until it reached the point that we had to face the reality of surgery. A surgery that requires this precious child of mine to put her life on hold. A surgery that means rods and screws will line her spine from top to bottom. A surgery that requires months and months of rehabilitation. A surgery that prevents her from ever tumbling again.

Healing never came ... or has it?

At first glance I'd say "no" because the Lord did not heal in the way I so specifically and faithfully prayed.

But, when I look at the promised result - it will straighten her spine and allow her to live pain free - I must say, "yes" healing is coming, just not in the way I hoped and prayed.

The passion of my heart, the call on my life, is to point others to find answers to their struggles, great and small, in the Word of God. So what do I say to myself as I kneel before the Lord? I allow the tears to come. I shake my fist, asking why has it had to come to this? I ask why did He not choose MY way?

And then, I surrender.

I take my own advice.

I go to His Word. His Word that speaks sweetly to me:

"Wendy, trust Me with all your heart. Do not lean on the knowledge of chiropractors, physical therapists, and others. Do not lean on your fears. Acknowledge Me, Wendy. My Name. My Power. My Strength. My Love. I promised to direct your path, and I have. This is the path I have led you to follow. Trust Me." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Wendy, I do not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

"Wendy, remember My ways are higher than your ways, My thoughts higher than yours...TRUST ME with her because I have a plan and I love her more than you will ever know." (Isaiah 55:8)

I wish I could tell you today that I am not afraid. But I would be lying. I am afraid. I am afraid of the day they will roll her away to cut into her spine and insert foreign objects into her body. But I can tell you that I trust my God, and I ask Him daily to help me with my unbelief.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that it is TRUTH. Fath er, for every woman whose heart aligns with mine today, direct us to Your Word. Speak truth into our circumstances. Help us with our unbelief. Help us take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Fill our hearts and minds with whatever is lovely, true, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy. Father cover us with Your wings. Help us to fully trust in You. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

There everywhere, There everywhere! It has been a cold fall but when we woke up this morning it was going to be a warm 68 today. Perfect, however, I didn't count on a little extra surprise that the kids absolutely LOVED. Lady Bugs! All over the place. On the window screens, the doors, on the ceiling in my bedroom.. Note to self,.... Sleep with mouth closed:)

Up at Grammy's in NH there are tons everywhere. And that was the first thing Madison said. "It's like at Grammy's in New Hampshire" They are pleasant little creatures but I'm confused because I thought they came out in Spring. Oh well, enjoy them while they're here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Went to Harris Teeter this morning:) Can you say Cha-Ching! I'm not sure if you can see everything but we got:
(1) Pair of Playtex Rubber gloves
(2) 6 packs Dole fruit & Jello
(5) jars of stage 3 baby fruit (for Hannah Banana)
(1) Scrubby Bubbles Spray foam
(1) Tube Crest toothpaste
(2) Zone Perfect nutrition bars
(4) bags Mahatma yellow rice
(1) Box Pepperoni
(2) Family size bags Mahatma yellow rice
(2) StarKist Tuna Salad Pouches
(2) cans Carnation evaporated milk
(2) Cartons of Progesso Chx Broth
(1) small Break Stones sour cream
(4) Welch's Juices
Do you want to know how much? Wait for it.... Wait for it.. $3.67
Amount Saved $56.69
***Blog in and tell me about your Harris Teeter Trip.***

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've been gone so long

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in forever. Thanks for missing me Kelly! We have had family in and out since the middle of Oct. and it has thrown my schedule off a bit. I have only had time to jump on for seconds to make sure I am not missing any great deals. I will be back to my blogging norm by the weekend. With plenty to blog about.

While I was checking the deals in the blogging world I came across this at Kelly's site . Saving money is SO important, so, I had to log on to let you know.

Harris Teeter is going to triple Nov. 4th - Nov. 10th! If you've never been, you Need to go. It's even worth the drive if you have a ways to go. Just call up some girlfriends, carpool and have a girls day out. Done It! Miss you Ammie!

Kelly and I have been blessed with competitive money saving husbands so they like to go to Harris Teeter and get the awesome deals as well. It's such a rush walking out if the grocery store with bags of stuff spending less than $20.. And that's no testaphonie!

There are some wonderful blog sites that even make list for you. All you have to do is gather your coupons and go.. Here is one site to check for the list. Just scroll down to Harris Teeter
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