Thursday, December 30, 2010

Satisfied with God

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries has written Made to Crave: Satisfying your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. You can read about it here or go to her blog www.lysaterkeurst.com.

With God speaking to my heart this year on Psalm 63:5 "You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.", this book sounds like it will speak straight to my heart.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In over my head

"When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end -- Because I am God, your personal God." (Isaiah 43:2-3a THE MESSAGE)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Dad and Christmas


I really have a difficult time separating my dad and Christmas. He loved Christmastime. It was truly the time of year he designated for family and he made the most of it. While many will not understand most of these memories, this poem that my mom wrote brought me to tears.

Memories of Father

In our home it seemed "father" made Christmas!
He purchased our huge Christmas tree.
Our decorations went up once his turkey went down!
Holiday videos would take two months to see!

Gifts were given for his Christmas Village.
Three Brittanys were gifts on his part.
He was Santa with candy for grandkids
Cedar Point and "The Farm" showed his heart.

Shiny garland he changed to look natural.
Chi-Chis and Shakeys made eating-out great!
But putting cash into new Christmas wallets?
Now... that was more than "Santa" could take!

He made our wooden stable so the grandkids
Could use the manger to do the Christmas play.
And "Come On Ring Those Bells" was the music
We'd hear first thing on Christmas Day.

Our dad knew the "True Father" of Christmas.
He trusted God's One and Only Son
As Forgiver, Comforter, Listener, Friend
Then his walk through this valley was done.

It's God our Father who truly made Christmas.
He made heaven and earth and each One.
God sent forgiveness and love in a manger
And one day... again, He will come!

"Wherefore, Comfort one another with these words..."


We enjoy reminiscing about how "Santa" gave us wallets one Christmas and mom came around telling each of us that we would find cash in the wallets and we were not able to keep the cash. Dad was about to have a heart attack about the amount of money spent by "Santa" that Christmas and he didn’t even know about the cash that was put in the wallets.

While I struggle with separating dad from Christmas, I truly treasure how special he made the holiday. After 3 years, I still miss my dad so much that my heart twists. And yet, I know there is so much more to live for. Hoping you have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

This was played at church this morning. I loved the way it was told in today's Facebook fashion. The Christmas story has really grabbed a hold of my heart this year once again. Mainly, the way Mary and Joseph were judged and shunned and the fact that if I were there in that day, I probably would have been in the group judging and shunning them. Which is sad. God does not always work the way we believe he should. As my Pastor stated this morning, "The God whose mind and hands created the earth came to earth with the mind and hands of a human baby." Truly amazing. And He did it out of His love for you and me. Take a minute to hear the Christmas story in a new way.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Be Encouraged

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to view the newest of the Narnia movies, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. While there was much to enjoy about the movie, one part of the storyline, in particular, stood out to me. Lucy desires to be beautiful. As most females in the human race, Lucy does not see herself for who she is but longs to be someone else. I can totally relate to this feeling. I am always wishing and hoping for something. I cannot tell you the amount of times I look at someone else’s life and feel like less than my best because I find myself desiring part of their life. Whether it is something about their appearance I wish I could change about my own or I dream about having the talents God has given them or even find myself coveting one of the characteristics they portray, I find myself not so content with who I am.

When it comes to our self-worth, I think all women could use a bit of encouragement. The truth is that we all have our secret pains and feelings of loneliness and unacceptance. We all have those moments where we feel lost and alone in this great big world and our hearts cry out for just one friend who can make us feel important and desired and needed.

We all know Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Christmas is our constant reminder that we always have at least one person who is on our side. It’s a good reminder that Christ came into the world for me. Christ came into the world for you. The whole reason for Christmas was God’s love for us.

But do you really have any idea just how often God thinks about you? And not just thinks about you but loves you and cares for you, knows you and desires you? I found over 60 verses that shout our value in God. This Christmas, my desire is that you will know your worth to God. Every time you hear the Christmas story of how God came to earth as a baby, remember that He did that for you.

Another phrase from the Narnia movie was "extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people". You are extraordinary to God.

BE ENCOURAGED
by Tristi N. Carlson 12/11/2010

God knew all about you
before you were even born
It was in His very image
that you were molded and formed

Wonderfully complex you were knit
and woven together with His care
And on your very head he knows
the number of each and every little hair

He loved you first; He wants you;
you are chosen precious in His sight
You are His masterpiece; His heir;
His dear child in whom He delights

He knows the secrets of your heart
Has good plans for you and sets you apart

He knows your every thought
and you bring Him great pleasure still
God bought you with a price at Calvary;
He sees you as valuable

United with Christ we’ve been made righteous;
God places His hand of blessing on your head
We’ve been set free; made right with God;
when for our benefit Christ was raised from the dead

You are now a new creation;
no longer slave but friend
God’s love for you is amazing;
inseparable and without end

In Christ, you’ve been made pure and holy;
blameless and complete
He’s given you a spirit of power and love
to help you live without defeat

You were adopted into His family
and He made your heart His home
You are a citizen of His kingdom
and He’ll never leave you alone

As a bridegroom rejoices over His bride
your God rejoices over you
You are God’s holy temple; His residence;
He is with you in all that you do

God understands you fully;
He offers unfailing love and faithfulness
He hears your every little sigh
and wants to give you comfort, peace and rest

When life gets overwhelming,
remember Christ pleads for us at God’s right hand
Be encouraged in knowing God’s thoughts about you
outnumber all the grains of sand


(Psalm 139:17; Psalm 139:1-6; Psalm 139:13-16; Psalm 147:11; Romans 5:19; Romans 6:6-7, 14, 22; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:16; Romans 8:17; Romans 8:31,34-35, 38-39; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 1:2,30; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Psalm 33:15; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Psalm 44:21; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 4:6-7; Ephesians 1:11; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:21; Ephesians 3:17; Isaiah 46:3-4; Isaiah 51:12; Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 1:22; Colossians 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Peter 2:10; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:4; John 15:15; John 15:12-13; Isaiah 62:5; Zephaniah 3:17; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 22:9-10; Jeremiah 29:11; Genesis 1:27; Matthew 6:25-27; Matthew 12:9-12; Luke 12:6-7; Matthew 6:28-30; Luke 12:22-28; Proverbs 3:12; Matthew 10:29-31; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27-28; Psalm 38:9; John 3:16-17; John 10:11; John 10:14, 27-28; Psalm 117:2; John 14:1-4; John 15:16; Colossians 2:10)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

11 days until Christmas

11 day left until Christmas and I’m not even looking at Christmas yet. I’m caught up in Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, and play dates. I still have shopping to do, birthday parties to attend and a house to clean. I was doing good for a while just being and enjoying this season until this week. This week has left me feeling stress and that is not the way Christmas is supposed to be. I remember this feeling last year and the year before that and the year before that. I wrote this last year for the cookie exchange I hosted and it’s a good reminder for me again today.

FIT HIM IN

The decorations need to go up
There are presents still to buy
More gifts are waiting to be wrapped
And the bows each need to be tied
Pictures need to be taken
Letters wait for me to share
Envelopes still need to be addressed
And Jesus asks me to fit Him in somewhere

The Christmas story should be read
The advent wreath is lit
The Christmas play we must attend
And the school party I’ll attempt to fit
Thank you gifts for teachers
Christmas classics we long to see
Menus wait to be planned
Emotions of Christmases past grab me

There are church services to attend
Extended family I wish to see
Parties need coordinating
I hear of a family who is in need
My mind continues to mull over my list
Another good cause begs me to share
Cookies are in need of baking
And Jesus asks me to fit Him in somewhere

Weekly responsibilities still beckon
Work, school, homework and such
Math facts, reading, stories to write
There’s just so very much
The kids all still need bathing
Their little bellies still need to be fed
There are diapers that are in need of changing
And that Christmas story still needs to be read
The house is in need of a vacuum
Dishes mount up and I begin not to care
Laundry is still not done
And Jesus asks me to fit Him in somewhere

The dog is asking to go out
The ground has a coating of snow
My children will be begging to play
In the yard they will want to go
My husband’s eyes have that twinkle
I need to fit in some time with my friends
Exercise is in the back of my mind
Will these demands on me never end?

I should probably wash the windows
And the carpet, hallway, and kitchen floor
I still need to wrap presents and bake cookies
And yet everyone is asking me for more
People are pulling from every which way
Responsibilities are too much to bear
I go to bed praying, I can’t do it alone
And Jesus asks me to fit Him in somewhere

I wake up in the morning to the cry of my child
And thank God when she goes back to sleep
I remember I can’t get through the day without Jesus
I open my Bible with the prayer journal I keep

The Book of Luke tells me of the way
Christ Jesus came to earth
My heart is filled as I read the story
Of the angels announcing our Savior’s birth
The inn was too full for the gift
that came to Bethlehem that night
There was hustle and bustle from the census
As the shepherds out in the fields were filled with holy fright
I wonder if I would have missed it
if I were there back then
Would I have been too concerned with responsibilities
Or watching and waiting as the shepherds had been?

I need to be intentional
if I’m going to include Jesus in my day
I need to remember that Christmas is Jesus
And take the time to spend listening to Him and pray
Many of these things on my task list are a good and necessary part
It’s just none of them do quite as much
as hiding God’s Word deep inside my heart

I must not forget about Jesus
as I go from here to there
I must remember it’s all about Jesus
and find ways to fit Him in everywhere.

- Tristi Nikelle Carlson
12/11/09

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nativity Craft



I don't get too excited about the projects that come home from school. I like to see it rarely finds a permanent place in our home. Jaycie's preschool did a craft that I am ecstatic about! This nativity scene will be something I look forward to pulling out each year. I think it will be our 4th nativity. I love having nativities for the girls to play with. I'm just hoping Andelise doesn't destroy it before we pack it away for the year!




Thursday, December 9, 2010

Free to Be

I had just been talking to God about my dislike of myself. I asked God to help me view myself through His eyes instead of my own. I want to stop beating myself up over every little imperfection; every little stain that I see. Instead, I want to see myself through the truth God shouts about me. This was a great reminder that God desires to set me free from the bondage I create for myself. I am free to be myself despite my fears of other’s opinions. Christ’s opinion is what matters and he nailed it on the cross for all to see.

That morning, I read this at (In)courage. Great insight!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hearts at Home 2011

Registration is now open for the Hearts at Home National Conference in Normal, Illinois the weekend of March 11-12, 2011! Better yet, Jill Savage is giving away free conference registrations on her blog!! Check out the new Hearts at Home website here. My life is more purposeful and intentional because of the ministry of Hearts at Home and Jill Savage. I am most definitely going to The National Conference. If I don't win, it would be fun if someone I knew did!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow

The first snowfall of the season had my girls bouncing down the stairs, jumping up and down at the window asking at first light to get bundled up, go outside, and play.



Our kids with Pup (who loves playing in the snow just as much as they do).



Jaycie made snow angels.



Andelise found a new treat.



Nikelle wanted to build a snowman. (I said Ande found a new treat, right?)




All three wanted hot chocolate with marshmallows.



And although the snow fort Nikelle started with her daddy never did get completed...



the walls were still standing last night (and while the wall is closer to the ground this morning, it still stands).

I am so thankful to God that the first snowfall came on a Saturday when Rod was home and we could really get out and enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That's not Fair!

Another great post over at Gitzen Girl today inspired by Matthew 20. Great insight about how we think life is fair until we start playing the comparison game.

I really needed this today as I'm asking God to transform me. She finishes with "Faith isn't a feeling. It's believing despite our feelings. And I do." So very true. Thanks for the reminder!