The month of November was a full and immensely blessed one! Highlights included trips to VA and NC for the FEW Conference and Thanksgiving, special times with both sides of our families, opportunities to serve on campus together, and just the preciousness of life together with your best friend! <3 Our little man, too, continues to grow and brings much delight to our home! He keeps us laughing with his antics, facial expressions, and new discoveries. 🙂 We are humbled by the immense responsibility it is to be parents, and often reminded just how much we need the Lord. Other special blessings from the month included decorating for Christmas, enjoying the soft lighting together at night while sipping hot chocolate, safety in traveling hundreds of miles, having guests in our home, fellowship with likeminded believers, visiting the house Daniel grew up in, time with niblings, and preparing gifts for Christmas! Below are a few pictures!
A few blessings from our house recently: <3
- cooler temperatures! Such lovely reminders of our Creator’s mercy!
- the glow and aroma of fragrant candles (click here to see one of our favorites!)
- lots of giggles from a precious, growing little man
- fresh paint
- times to sing together
- home organization/decorating ideas that cost next to nothing
- fancy handwriting
- FaceTime or phone calls with dear ones far away
- bulk food 🙂
Oh what a glorious weekend the Lord recently blessed us with at the VA FEW Conference! His grace and mercy were abundantly showered upon it… to Him be glory for His working in our hearts and the many others who attended. It was truly a weekend of refreshment for us.
Often though, when coming down from a “mountain top” experience like this, it is easy to yield to the temptation to doubt God’s plan for our lives. This could look like anything… wishing your family was “perfect” like another family you just met (and what a false illusion that is, by the way 😉 )… feeling depressed because life at home seems humdrum and boring… sensing the Lord calling you upward and onward for a deeper relationship with Himself, but not knowing how to get there and only seeing your sin and shortcomings… wishing for the sense of His abiding presence that you felt before… and on and on.
For me, following this conference, it wasn’t so much any of the above scenarios, but simply recognizing my own weakness and feeling incapable for the calling of ministry and service God has placed on our lives (in our home, and to those around us). Even though I didn’t fully realize it at first, in the back of my mind the idea of returning to normal life was daunting. How lovingly kind our Father is, though, to direct our focuses back to His face. Sunday morning at church He gave me a song that was exactly what I needed! So many truths, flooding my heart with precious reminders of Who He is and what He has promised to His children. I pray you are blessed as much by it as I was!
Through the Valley
Margaret F. Powers/Frank Garlock
I have been thru the valley of weeping,
Thru the valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
By His hand to uphold and sustain.
So I’ll follow wherever God leads me,
In the darkness His Word lights my way;
I have proof that the Lord can give comfort,
And His grace can give strength for each day.
As the earth needs the clouds and the sunshine,
So the soul needs both sorrow and joy;
And when God puts His gold in the furnace,
He intends all its dross to destroy.
As we travel thru life’s shadowed valley,
The fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses
Are all blessings God sent in disguise.
Though perhaps not as avid a poetry lover as a couple of our dear sisters, 😉 I do hold an appreciation for well-composed lines that concisely communicate truth in an easy-to-remember format. The other day Daniel and I were discussing hospitality and the commands of Scripture to love one another, and the following poem came to mind. Perhaps a little quaint in it’s style and expression, 🙂 we were blessed by the spirit of love, compassion, and kindness it portrays, and wanted to share it with you. May each of us understand in a deeper way the love that our Savior bears toward us, so that we may in turn be vessels that convey that love to others!
“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15: 12-13
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11
The House by the Side of the Road
Sam Walter Foss
There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highways of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears –
Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
And the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But I still rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor have I my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by –
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Our Great Savior
Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, in Him confiding,
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.
Jesus! what a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, heals my soul.
Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night o’ertakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find;
Christ in me, the Hope of glory,
I am His, and He is mine.
Arrangement copyright of Pinner Publications.
Every single day we are surrounded with blessings, many of which we neglect to pause and notice. I am guilty of this myself, all too often… what grace the Lord shows us through His gentle reminders to give thanks, to count our blessings, and to rejoice. Here are just a few things I have seen and/or remembered today, enumerated in no particular order. 🙂
- cooler temperatures as summer comes to an end
- freshly-mown grass
- times to talk over everything with my dearest, and the oneness we share in Christ
- stacks of clean diapers, ready for use
- learning, in a deeper sense, to abide in Christ, and His patience with His children
- red & bright pink flowers visible from our front porch and kitchen windows
- smiles from our little man
- time to read together
- the ability to venture into the kitchen in the middle of the night, with the purpose of satisfying my ravenous Mommy-cravings, without meeting a cockroach or cricket or spider… usually 🙂
What are YOU grateful for?
With the exciting solar eclipse passing across our nation on August 21st this year, many thoughts come to mind. Often, such glorious natural phenomena bring with them numerous theories… questions as to what might be the cause… creepy speculations about what major catastrophe is about to happen… wonderings about what might be our Creator’s deeper meaning behind them… and while I cannot say this is wrong, thoughts such as these have tended to generate deep notes of fear, anxiety, or doubt in my heart.
Yes, it is true that we do not know what lies ahead. It is possible that there are serious trials on the horizon of our lives or for believers in general. The Lord could be using this coming eclipse to signal something monumental in the history of the world.
This past weekend, though, the Lord brought to mind a beautiful, reassuring promise to hang on to when the temptation arises to give in to the inner turmoil that seeks to crowd out my joyous rest in Him. While singing the familiar hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” on Sunday, He highlighted verse two:
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Summer, winter, spring, and harvest… the sun, the moon, the stars… they join in with all of nature as a manifold witness to the abundant faithfulness, mercy, and love of our God. HE IS unchanging. His faithfulness is sure. His mercy endures forever. His very nature is love. While we do not know what the future holds, we DO know Who holds the future, and we can trust Him.
What renewed peace it brought to my heart as He reminded me to use the eclipse (and other similar natural events) as a reminder of these steadfast elements of His character. All of nature sings of His glory; may we join them in praise to His goodness, rather than allowing fear of the unknown to cripple our joy!
“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever… The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Psalm 145: 1, 8-9
“…the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3
“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 117
As part of the celebration for our first anniversary, the Lord allowed us to take a trip north to Amarillo, TX, to spend a few days together! Such a joyous, blessed time, remembering what God has done and looking forward to what He plans to do in the future.
A few highlights included visiting the Palo Duro canyon, enjoying the sweet fellowship and incredible hospitality of our dear friends, the Kerr’s, eating at the Big Texan and Abuelos, stopping by the Cadillac Ranch, and just spending time reading, relaxing, and seeking the Lord together.
As we were preparing for our honeymoon, I asked Daniel if there were any particular snacks he really enjoyed… he described “a delicious, chewy snack ball, with oatmeal, raisins, and chocolate and sweetened with honey… really sweet…” He didn’t know where the recipe had come from, so with those specifics and some help from Google we concocted a treat that is now a special tradition for us. Making them together for the first time on our honeymoon was a delight and we have enjoyed them many times throughout our first year. <3 <3 The fun thing about this recipe is how amazingly delicious, healthy, and easy they are — all at the same time.
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey (or to taste)
Mix all ingredients together; shape into 1″ balls and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Store in airtight container in fridge.
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:9-12
Like a River Glorious
Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully, all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
The lyrics to this lovely hymn, especially the chorus and final stanza, have been ministering to our hearts over the past couple days in pondering the faithfulness of Jehovah, our loving Creator. Recently Daniel & I heard a challenging testimony from a friend’s life, in which, as a closing summary, he stated “God is faithful. Never once, in all of my life, has He failed me… NEVER ONCE.” And how true this is, as seen from our own lives and experiences as well. God IS faithful. Faithful to provide, to protect, to sustain. Faithful to love, to forgive, to guide.
It is because of this faithfulness that we can trust Him. “We may trust Him fully, all for us to do; They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.” Oh the rest, the joy, this brings! Even in the midst of swirling emotion, uncertain circumstances, or seasons of doubt and pain, we can trust Him. Even when we cannot see how He is working, or we do not know what tests and trials lie ahead, He abides faithful.
May we all then trust unreservedly in the faithfulness of Jehovah, with peaceful, resting confidence that He will not fail.
Today I am reminded to cherish each moment the LORD has given. When I look at the smiling, chubby face of my little man, and realize how quickly time is passing and how rapidly he is changing… When I look into the sparkling eyes of my beloved, and remember again the unspeakable gift it is to belong to him, to sit and hold his hand, to walk by his side… When I glance outside and see the brilliant light of the summer sun, and think how short the weeks are until autumn will begin to show itself… So many reminders to take TODAY, and rejoice in it. To delight in the calling the LORD has placed upon my life. Today is a treasure. Each moment is a treasure, not to be taken for granted.
“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127: 3-5
“Oh give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:1
Yes, it has been quite a while since you have heard from us! While we apologize for the silence, our hearts are deeply grateful to the LORD for the exciting changes that have taken place in our lives over the past couple months. He truly is GOOD; His MERCIES are abundant.
There are so many things to update you on, but we’ll start with the biggest one… the arrival of our precious little blessing from the LORD! More pictures to follow, but our little man has brought unspeakable joy to our lives already.
Today’s kitchen experimentation resulted in a fast, easy, and delicious concoction I just had to share with you! My beloved was coming home for brunch, and, not feeling well earlier this morning, I did not have much time to put together something complicated… I am so grateful to the Lord for the creativity He is so faithful to give. The variations are almost endless with this “recipe,” so have fun! 🙂
Easy Broiled Vegetable Pizzas
Tortillas or flat bread
Brown rice (mine was leftover from dinner last night, and had English peas in it)
Baked chicken, diced (leftover as well)
Diced green onion
Fresh spinach leaves
Thinly sliced tomato
Garlic powder (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Layer ingredients onto tortillas in order given above; broil for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and edges of tortilla are golden. Serve with fresh celery sticks or a fruit smoothie and enjoy!