X and Y

We’re getting close to the end of the alphabet.  These letters get harder to write about.  I completely missed X because I just couldn’t come up with the right word.  I decided that it might be easier to combine with Y…but that was really difficult too.

Then, as I prepared to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention, I knew that what X should be!

exhausted

This is how I felt going into the convention.  I had, literally, burned the midnight oil the night before we left.  Homeschool conventions are wonderful but when you go into it feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, it’s hard to wrap your mind around all that is available……..or at least that was the case last week.

eXhausted is defined on Dictionary.com as: “to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly”.

Even though that is exactly how I felt, I was really looking forward to the convention.  Not only was I about to be exposed to a great selection of speakers to gain insight from but I was preparing to spend 3-1/2 days with precious friends from KY.  That alone put some spring in my step. {smile}

The convention was all I expected.  I think a recap of favorite sessions is in order but I’ll save that for another post.  Seeing our friends — laughing, learning, and even crying with them was such a treat.    I had no idea when we headed home on Sunday that my eXhaustion was really just beginning.

2 am Monday morning, our daughter woke us up.  She was sick.  She vomited from 2 to 7 am.  She and I got little sleep.  There’s a virus going around our town and I am sure that there were germs everywhere we went over the weekend.  Long story short, she became dehydrated and we ended up in the ER.  Then we were admitted so that she could receive fluids and this resulted in just over 24 hours in the hospital.  NOW I felt eXhausted!!

As I laid beside her on the couch Sunday night and sat beside her hospital bed, I was reminded of a few sessions that I attended over the weekend at the convention.  They were both on relying on the Lord.  Something I know in my head but often, I admit, don’t carry out.  Little did I know that they Lord, in those sessions, was giving me ammunition for the days ahead that I did not yet know I needed.

This verse came to mind:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30

I heard it in one of the sessions. And so, that’s my Y word.  YOKE

Do you know what a yoke is?  What they look like?

It is a a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.   A yoke typically looks a lot like this:

yolk

Doesn’t look comfortable does it?  Even for an animal.

Do you ever feel like you have one of these around your neck?  That the weight of all that you have going on resembles such a device?  I think this depicts eXhaustion!

The good news is that the Lord doesn’t want us to take this stuff on all by ourselves.  He wants us to lay it at His feet.  To learn from Him.

Isn’t that cool?  That He cares about us enough to have our weights, our concerns on his shoulders?

I think so.

As I write this, it is late in the evening.  I am still pretty tired but I rejoice that my Jesus carries my burdens.  And that I can “come to Him”.  His YOKE is my solution for eXhaustion.

Won’t you find rest in Him tonight?

Joy to You!

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Join me and others as we are finishing up this round of Blogging through the Alphabet over at Ben and Me.

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V and W…

I had it all planned.  
I was going to write this great post for the “V” link up of Blogging through the Alphabet.
My topic was:
victory
See.  I even had the graphic all made. {smile}
But life happened.  
My week seemed to be filled with nothing but defeat.
Kind of hard to write on Victory — even the kind that comes from the Lord — when everything else is so hard.
So, the time frame to write a “V” post came and went.
Now, I’m also running out of time for the “W” post but I’m not letting this one pass by.
Last night, my son (whose name happens to start with W) did the devotional time for his youth group.
As he was speaking, I knew what “W” could stand for in this post.
He spoke on Gideon and his 300 men.
 Gideon, the WARRIOR, had great VICTORY!!!
Not because he was a great WARRIOR, but because he was obedient to a great God.
You know that we are no different from Gideon.
In our own strength, we often don’t get very far. 
But when God steps in….
He equips us for VICTORY!  We are His WARRIORS.
I could go on and on.  Instead, I’d ask you to take a peak at my son’s blog post about the devotion he gave.  
You can find it HERE.
Joy to You!
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This post is linked up with Ben and Me as I join others “Blogging through the Alphabet”

U is for…..

unfailing

Chris Tomlin has a song called “Unfailing Love”

It starts out like this:

You have my heart and I am Yours forever
You are my strength, God of grace and power
And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me, I cant understand

Praise You God of earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love, unfailing love
And You never change God You remain
The Holy One, my unfailing love, unfailing love

It continues with phrases like:

And You never change God You remain…

You are my rock…

And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me…

This week, I have needed that reminder.

You see, recently, I have heard of a precious, young mother who is in her last days of her battle with cancer.

I have heard of a marriage that is on the brink of falling apart.

I have heard of financial struggles.

I have heard of loneliness.

Of  bitterness.

Of guilt.

I am heavy-hearted.   I am burdened.

I am reminded in God’s Word that His love is UNFAILING.

This is one of those attributes of God that we can cling to.

Isn’t that good news?

I pray that those effected by situations above or ones similar can find rest in the knowledge that God is UNFAILING.

Joy to You!

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I’m linked up with Ben and Me as I join others in “Blogging through the Alphabet”

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T is for …………..

thanks

Yes!  I said THANKS.

I know it’s not the typical time of year that we point out THANKS.  But should there be a typical time?

I think not!

I sometimes….or maybe I should say frequently complain.  It’s a nasty habit.  But I do it.  Most of the time it’s my own selfishness coming out that is causing the complaining.  Really, I have nothing to complain about.  I have a wonderful husband.  I have beautiful, smart, talented children.  A precious extended family. I have friends near and far.  I have a warm home and food on the table.  Oh yeah, and clothes on my back.  That’s just the beginning of the list of things that make me know I have nothing to complain about.  But, sadly, I do.

This year I am making a concerted effort to take the “Joy Dare”.  It’s a challenge put forth by Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts.  I’ve tried it before and it’s been hit or miss.  But this year, I am trying really hard to keep up.  To let thankfulness impact (remember, that’s my word for the year) my life.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought a green polka-dotted note book.  I printed out all the Joy Dare list for the year, I am recording my 1,000 gifts of 2014.  It’s looks something like this:

joy_dare

I’ve missed a day or two but I try to go back and remember what the day was like.  If I can’t remember the day, I think of something in the moment.  I’ll admit, it hasn’t really changed my outlook yet, but there are glimmers of light that I can see.

Our pastor has been preaching on being thankful the past few weeks.  He challenged us to write down things we are thankful.  And to write notes….and mail them….to thank those who have an impact on our lives.  (Ummm, I still need to do that one this week!)

His sermon Sunday was on the 10 lepers that asked Jesus for healing.  Jesus told them to go to and show themselves to the priests. They did and they were cleansed.  Then 1 went back and thanked Jesus for what He had done for him.  Only 1!  It got me to thinking. Am I like the 9?  Or am I like the 1?  I’d love to think that I am like the 1 but I’ll be honest I’m often more like the 9.

Something to think about.  Something for me to strive towards.  Being more thankful.

Will you join me?  Will you find things in the middle of the sometimes ugly that you can be thankful for?

I pray your weekend is thank “filled”!

Joy to You!

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6341b-bloggingthroughthealphabetsm  This post is linked up with Ben and Me as I join others in “Blogging through the Alphabet”

S is for…..

myshield
Weeks ago when I began this round of “Blogging through the Alphabet” I started with A is for Attributes of God.  I have focused on His attributes here and there but today wanted to concentrate on one of His most important attributes. 
 He is “my SHIELD.”
 Do you ever just sigh in relief because He is?  I know I do.  When the life is more than I think I can bear, He steps in and protects me.  How awesome is that?
 The English Standard Version of the Bible has 21 verses in Psalms alone that remind us that God is our SHIELD.  Here are just a few of those verses that I find comforting:
Psalm 3:3~ But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Psalm 18:2~ The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:30~ This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:35 ~ You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
Psalm 28:7 ~ The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalm 84:11~ For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 115:11~ You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
Psalm 119:114~ You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
 When I am afraid, when I am unsure, when I feel vulnerable to the world around me, these verses…this promise…are what I hold on to.  This gives me hope.
 I do take note in the fact that more than once the Psalmist says that He is the SHIELD of those who trust in the Lord… who take refuge in Him…who fear the Lord.  Our faith and hope in Him comes into play.  But oh how beautiful that when we are scared and when our faith seems small, He is still faithful.  He remains our SHIELD.  Praise the Lord for His promises!
 I pray that this week you will feel the Lord’s shield around you. 
Joy to You!
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This “Think on These Things” post is linked up with Marcy over at Ben and Me as I join others in “Blogging through the Alphabet”
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R is for……….

Retreat, Refresh, & River City Cafe!

Have you ever been on a Marriage Retreat?  Our church hosted one this past weekend.  My husband planned the retreat so I guess that I am bragging on him when I say this, but it was really fantastic.
He titled the retreat “Made One”.  

made one

Our speakers were Doug & Joan Dorman from Your Next Step Ministries.  They talked to us about Oneness – with each other and with Christ, Love and Respect, Forgiveness, and more.  We also had a mini-session on the 5 Love Languages.  (Sidenote:  I was surprised to find out that I was totally wrong about my love language……oh, well!)  
The topics covered by Doug & Joan were both informative and encouraging.  But the biggest blessing was getting to know them as a couple.  How cool to come home with new friends.   There were 15 couples on the retreat.  We had great food and great fellowship.  Time was set aside on Saturday evening for a date night.  My hubby and I double dated with dear friends at Angelo’s Steak and Pasta.  If you’re ever in Myrtle Beach, SC and want steak or pasta, I highly recommend Angelo’s.  
So the weekend was refreshing.  The sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean was gorgeous on Saturday morning reminding me that “the heavens declare the glory of God…”

sunrise

I mentioned River City Cafe in the opening of this post.  It’s the best, in my opinion, burger place in Myrtle Beach.  A favorite of ours so we started our weekend with lunch there with Kevin’s childhood friend that lives in the area.  Always good to see old friends.
rivercity
I’m linked up with Marcy over at Ben and Me as I join others “Blogging through the Alphabet”
6341b-bloggingthroughthealphabetsmHope you have a blessed rest of your week!
Joy to You!
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Qualities (Q is for…)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just love this passage of Scripture.  It reminds me of who I am supposed to be. Of course, for me anyway, it’s often hard to achieve these qualities. Here’s the cool thing; God’s power, and grace, is ready and available for us.  He wants us to be more like Him.  He wants us to glorify and exemplify Him in ALL we do.  Verse 3 in 2 Peter 2 says that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

I could go  through the list of qualities and share the ones that I struggle with but my goal is to point you to Him.  Ask the Lord to reveal to the areas that need more of His power, grace, and mercy.  2 peter 1 tells us that these are His “precious promises”.

How beautiful to focus on His “precious promises”.

Thanks for joining me as I “think on these things”.

This post is also linked up with Marcy over at Ben and Me as I “Blog through the Alphabet” with her and others.

think on these things

Joy to You!

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