Thursday, November 27, 2008

Louisiana visit

It has been a very emotional and enjoyable week here in Louisiana. In about a month we will call Louisiana our home once again. We are on the look out for a little dwelling place and only have tomorrow to finish our search. I know that God has a place already picked out for us so I am not worrying just a little anxious.

Today was a truly filling day in many different ways. I am full tonight as I type out my thoughts... full with family, friends, love, fellowship, joy, grace and mercy and not to mention to much really good food :0). We are very blessed. Tomorrow we continue our search for our new home and then head out to visit my grandparents, Saturday we head back home to Texas to spend the next month in deep fellowship with friends/family and enjoy the season to be us.

I hope you had a blessed and full Thanksgiving day!

(constantly trying to be more...) JOYfully in Him,

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nana...

Happy Birthday To You...

A silly birthday video:



A Family Video...


video

~We love you~



JOYfully in Him,
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making a Mess... Thankful for Grace



There is nothing but God's grace. We walk upon it; we breathe it; we live and die by it; it makes the nails and axles of the universe.

Robert Louis Stevenson
JOYfully in Him,
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Serving a King

I loved the accountability I had last week during the Making Your Home a Haven challenge hosted my Monica. It reminded me of how HIGH, HOLY and CRUCIAL (as John Piper calls it) my calling is and how privileged I am to be serving Him here in my home. During the challange I was so motivated to serve consciously in every moment, now after it is over I am finding myself struggling to find my motivation again... kind of like a party when it is over and everyone has gone home. I am always really depressed and just kind of out of it and everyone just took my motivation with them when they left. When post my to do list I feel more accountably and motivation in a lot of ways. Sometimes it is hard for me personally to realize that I do not have a boss that watches over me and pushes me to get things done... although I do have a King... that I serve. A holy and righteous King that I am daily in the presence of and serving. My ultimate motivation should never come from crowd of onlookers or from works as if to accomplish something but of the One who deserves everything I have to offer, my life.

In order to keep me focused on this reality of being in the presence of a King I will be posting His royal to do list for His servant every week... hopefully unless it falls through (which is likely with me, sorry). I pray for perseverence and motivation as I long to give my whole heart in active, very active service to my Lord and Saviour.

Homekeeping and making...

*Clean the back yard from the invisible tornado that came through
*Stay up with at least one load of laundry a day, folded and put away!
*Follow my Home Management Schedule as closely as possible with out being to legalistic
*Have a nice family dinner every night with dessert
*Bake something

Child/habit training...

*Make chore charts to assist them in making their morning and evening chores a habit
*Make chore chart for table chores
*Make tokens for the rewards which will be time for extras: Rock Band, DS ect.
*Lots of encouragement with praise

Motherhood...
*100% consistency
*Grase Based
*Establish a "tea time" with boys and girl.

Homeschooling...

*From 9-12 give ALL of me to ALL of them (meaning no computer or other activities)
*Fill out progress report
*Go on daily nature walk
*Fill out Weekly Report

Family Liturgies...

*Treat them as sacred spaces of the day to focus our minds and hearts on Christ.

Personal...

*Read a chapter in The Mother in Law Dance
*Rise before thd sun to meet with the Son
*Abide in Him daily
*Find JOY

Other...

*Pack up the unused things in the bathroom and boys room
*Work on crafts
*Pack for Thanksgiving family trip

Family/Holiday Projects...
*Tepees
*Make Pilgrim book
*Read a lot of Thanksgiving books!

Father... may I give each day to your service... keep me busy... remind me to be conscious in joyful anticipation of Your return... give me peace in my moments of chaos... energy in my moments of exhaustion... allow me to have perspective when responding to my precious children and respect when speaking to my husband. I pray you will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus and reveal my priorities each blessed day you give me. May the gospel of Christ reign in each moment and may my hands be an extention of His grace and love to all those close to me... glory to You alone... in His holy name I pray...



JOYfully in Him,
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Gratitude and Prayer Request

Baby Noah is experiencing some uncertain medical issues and his parents are asking for our prayers.

Sunday's update from Noah's mom Kate...

We are on our way to the hospital with Noah, who is being admitted. He's running a high fever with sudden onset and looks terrible. He seemed fine at church this morning.

The car is packed and I need to go. Please pray. This looks like the kind of line infection that almost Noah his life a few weeks ago. Please ask others to pray.


Yesterday's update from Kate...


Noah is having periods of alert activity, but is VERY irritable when he's awake. It is extremely difficult to keep him content. He feels well enough not to sleep all of the time, but not really well enough to enjoy doing much of anything. He'll ask (scream) for something, then fall completely apart as soon as he gets what he thought he wanted. Now and then something will get his happy attention for a few minutes at a time. When his fever trends up, he falls back asleep or just lies in bed. He did sit on my lap and paint for a little while earlier, so Child Life is going to bring us more paints for tomorrow. Please pray specically for peace and comfort for Noah.


Also, I just wanted to share this video with you today... I enjoy it so much...



JOYfully in Him,
Kelli

Monday, November 17, 2008

Putting on our Spiritual Clothes

Mondays come with out saying a difficult day following the weekend. My list of activities and places to go today is long, I really need to pray over it and ask the Lord to reveal to me His priorities for me to engage in this day, this day that He has made and ordained.

Today... before we step into our service to the King let us reflect on Colossians 3...

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth. 1-2

Put to death therfore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, imputiry, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatory. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from youyr mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image if its creator. 5-11

After we have examined our hearts, found what is earthly in us and put them away let us then ...

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion , kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

And...

let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

And...

be thankful. 12-15

You wouldn't go out with out "putting on" your physical clothes, let us not go out with out "putting on" our spiritual clothes today being fully dressed we will be more fully equiped to handle this days battles.

JOYfully in Him,

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seeing God

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3


I can not even begin to express the joy and gratitude I hold tightly in my heart for the awesome God I serve. He is so good and always faithful. Have you ever felt like you have basically "seen" God by how personally He intervenes in our lives as if He were to be walking amongst us. It is moments like these that were experienced today that I find myself utterly humbled and in awe of God and that I just realize that my Father in heaven is near and He cares for His children. Considering my sinful and self absorbed heart often straying far from His loving arms I am reminded of the true and living God that I serve. Today I was given a glimpse of the assurance I have and my faith was strengthened, may I never forget the warmth and tender touch of His hand as He so lovingly reached down into our lives today.

It appeared to be a normal Sunday morning as we went through our little routine. Everything went smoothely as we got dressed, fmixed hair, ate breakfast, put on our socks and shoes, packed our bag, located our bibles and kept up with the house. With 20 minutes left I long for a few minutes in meditation time so I put a movie that would help the kids focus their minds on God so that I could spend some time alone with the living word. As soon as daddy was ready we packed up and were on our way. Worship was divine and a sacred ceremony as usual... I am now at home waiting on my husband and oldest son to come home from feeding those that find themselves unable to do it themselves.

I don't know where you are in your faith but just know that where ever you are, whether dark clouds surround you, shadows follow you closely or you're in a place of solitude and lonliness... you are in the presence of your heavenly Father... He never leaves you nor forsakes you...

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD you God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6



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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stained Glass Masquerade...




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Lord of All Seasons

Why is it so hard to surrender all in the midst of such fleshly struggles? I am always so amazed at how deep and dark and hopeless my fleshly struggles can be and usually are. My faith doesn't seem to equip me with the tools to pull myself out... this morning as I read from a book I just began reading a few days ago by Elisabeth Elliot called Keep a Quiet Heart I listened as she relayed this message from the Lord to my stubborn sometimes unwilling to conform heart...


"If I can't give thanks, trust, and worship the Lord in every "season", in the face of any set of facts which may touch my life, I am not really a believer. It is here, in my corner of God's earth, that I am assigned my lessons in the School of Faith."

Does the gospel have anything to do with the little struggles we face everyday? The little battles that we pick up our swords and fight? The gospel has everything to do with those. I sinfully and naturally only include the gospel to the BIG things in my life and leave the gospel out of the small things. Small things like difficult people, children who push the boundaries of disobendience, computers that refuse to copperate, days that don't go as planned and fits in the middle of the school supply isle at Walmart. In those moments of seemly insignificant struggles that the gospel of Jesus Christ need not be apart of, that we find ourselves daily struggling to have perspective remember this...


"...Jesus died for me! He's risen and coming again! He ahs given me an inheritance that nothing can 'destroy or spoil or wither' (1 Peter 1:4, NEB) and a Kingdom which is unshakable (Hebrews 12:28). That's the gospel."

And it has everything to do with children, people, computers and unplanned days... so let's include Jesus Christ... His death, His burial and His ressurection in our small fleshly battles all through out the day, they are significant to God and to our sanctification. Those deep, dark and hopeless fleshly struggles I face become shallow, lit and hopeful when Christ is seen as Lord of ALL and then I am able to surrender ALL.



Let us surrender ALL as we seat Christ as Lord of ALL, small and large, significant or insignificant. Have a truly glorious day.

JOYfully in Him,

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Making my Home a Haven: Inviting and Giving

So this morning I found myself more reluctant than usual to get up. I ignored my alarm 3 times and then even after getting up out of my bed I just found another place to lay my head. After I finally got on my feet and got busy trying to catch up for the time I had lost I was very discouraged but the Lord had words to encourage me from our family Meditation time. He said...

Go to the ant, O sluggard (me);
consider her ways, and be wise.

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

Proverbs 6:6,9

He knew exactly what I needed to hear this morning and I praise Him for speaking truth directly to my heart this morning and for speaking so personally to me His wayward sheep.

So after we meditated on His words... we went to the ant and we observed her ways so that we could become wise... and while we were observing her I was reminded of her in Proverbs 31 and her in Titus 2, again. Keeping my eyes and heart focused seems a great struggle these days. I am very grateful to Monica for challenging me to actively make my home a haven and today we are encouraged to make it inviting and giving so after I finish catching up I plan for our day to look something like this...

*Family Meditation and Dedication time
*Breakfast
*No school on Fridays
*Lunch (tell silly stories)
*Reading Time for Littles (Fun Poems)- missed
*Family Project (Thanksgiving activity)
*Rest-Bible Study and Prayer with Superman
*Bake something neighbor
*Spend some time planning an evening of fun with the neighborhood kids.
*After Rest and Bible Story/Snack time take time to Straighten up all rooms
*2 Loads of Laundry: washed, folded and put away!
*Dinner with neigborhood friends followed by some games and maybe a short devotional. Postponed until Monday night to give parents more warning and so they will be home to come :0)
*Lights out Reading time :0)

I plan on also planning a night to invite over some friends and make a gift from someone special. Today is my grandfather's birthday so I will be making a special call to encourage him today :0).

Side note: We only have so much time before we leave our home hear in Tx to make a new one in La. The next 6-7 week are going to be a rush of a lot of packing, visiting and emotions. There are so many people here that I am crying over leaving and I realize that some of them I will probably never see again in this life and even some I will not see in the next life either which breaks my heart beyond just tears. It is so hard to leave when you feel things are not finished but you know that they are as far as God using you in certain peoples lives. All I can do at this point is get on my knees and give them to the Father.

I pray your day is blessing on you, your family and those who surround you.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Update...

We had an awesome day! My home felt so clean and wholesome because of my constant motivation to stay busy serving my home, my family, my God. We made our table turkeys and they turned out cuter than I thought they would! I made Tiger Butter for our neighbor and since we didn't have the neighborhood kids over we invited over some good friends for dessert and coffee. We are excited. We are now about to eat some Homemade Pizza :0)

JOYfully in Him,
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making our Homes a Haven: Fun!

I never saw a Puple Cow;
I never Hope to See One;
But I can Tell, Anyhow,
I'd rather See than Be One.
The Puple Cow, Gelett Burgess

Today our focus in making our homes a haven is FUN. One of the biggest ways to spead fun through out our homes is to simply have a JOY-ful attitude in everything but also going out of our way to make time for little activities that are FUN. Sometimes, it requires a mess so get over it! I say this to myself because I weigh almost all activities by their level of mess, the less mess the more likely we are to engage in them but today I say "Get over it!". Have fun.

Today my list looks like this...

*Family Meditation and Dedication time
*Breakfast
*School from 9:00-12:00 (be devoted)
*Lunch (tell silly stories)
*Reading Time for Littles (Fun Poems)
*Family Project (Thanksgiving activity)
*Rest-Bible Study and Prayer with Superman
*Spend some fun alone time with Superman
*After Rest and Bible Story/Snack time take time to Straighten up all rooms
*2 Loads of Laundry: washed, folded and put away!
*Dinner by Candlelight
*Game Night!!
*Lights out Reading time :0)

Somewhere we will make a trip to Borders bookstore to let Superman spend his gift card from his birthday and possibly make a surprise stop at the nearest park. Today when handling any situations I am going to carry this verse with me...

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22
And think upon this quote...

Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.
Robert Schuller

May JOY fill the air in our homes as we inhale and exhale His presence.


JOYfully in Him,
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making our Homes a Haven: Cared for

Today as I strive to stay focused and work diligently in making my home a haven I will be reflecting on Jesus words remembered my Peter in Luke 22:61 “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And when His words drift through my mind I will pass them to my heart and think of my sin and how many times I have denied Christ with it today. And like Peter weep bitterly for my unbelief. I pray that the Spirit will gently guide me with His words and encourage and focus my eyes to walk obediently and more faithfully today in my high and holy calling.

Today’s challenge in making our homes a haven is taking care of some little projects beyond tidying and cleaning up. I could think of a thousand of these but right now I want to focus on these specific projects:

Making a Praise and Thanksgiving Jar
Make our Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving (have boys help)
Make a picture cd to get developed
Organize Craft box

Make motivational chart for boys
Organize 3 Cabinets (bathroom, medicine & entertainment center)

These will fit in and between our day:

*Family Meditation and Dedication time
*Breakfast
*School from 9:00-12:00 (be devoted)
*Lunch
*Reading Time for Littles
*Family Project (Thanksgiving activity)
*Rest-Bible Study and Prayer with Superman
*Work on Craft box
*After Rest and Bible Story/Snack time take time to Straighten up all rooms
*2 Loads of Laundry: washed, folded and put away!
*Bath for church
**Something that I can not forget to do today: send a birthday card to my grandfather (my adopted father)

Tonight for dinner we will be eating Pizza, not the homemade kind. Our church provides it every Wednesday evening from CiCi's. Last night we were blessed by a friend who prepared dinner for us, pork roast. It was amazing.

JOYfully in Him,
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Home a Haven: Clean Picture Update

Today was a very successful day in making my home a haven. I got a lot accomplished, everything on my list. I have been able with the gently nudging of the Spirit to be conscious in every moment and I have been reminded in the struggling moments of my verse from this morning and of staying awake in aticipation of His return. Here are the pics from today:

Family Meditation/Dedication...

Before Play room pictures...





And after...


Living Room Afters...

Boys Room Before...


Boys Room After...



Good Afternoon Baby Angel...

Laundry Time... 1st load...

2nd load...It was so tempting to leave them all so nicely folded in their baskets but I overcame...


JOYfully in Him,

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Making our Homes a Haven: Cleaning

With homekeeping being my focus this week I thought I would share my daily/weekly cleaning schedule, the picture wouldn't work so here is the schedule...


Home Management Schedule:
Daily…

Morning
Swish and swipe bathroom
Make beds and put clothes away (where they go)
Clear sink
Light candles
Fold & Put away clothes

Evening
Vacuum, sweep & Mop
Shine Sink
Straighten House
Plan & Set up next school day
Wash Clothes

Weekly…

Morning
Playroom (Monday)
Bathroom (Tuesday)
Kitchen (Thursday)
Livingroom (Friday)

Evening
Hallway (Monday)
Boy’s Room (Tuesday)
Girl’s Room (Thursday)
Master Room (Friday)

Wednesday is a “Clean-Free” Day!!
Saturday is set aside for Outside & Window cleaning!!


I love it, it works for me and if I don't find the time to clean in the morning it is just added to the evening which is a little after 4:00, usually. And I love my Wednesday's being free :0). Monica is encouraging us to get busy and focus on Cleaning our home in our attempts to honor Him in Making our Homes a Haven, yesterday was Tidy Up(my update is coming). Today as I work diligently to balance being a teacher, mother and homekeeper I will find my strength from Christ who is my hope and my joy. It can becoming very overwhelming at times when I am being called to be all three at once and it is in those moments that I must focus on this idea of making my home a haven for my family.

This morning I had a brief moment of communion with the Lord before I drifted off to sleep on my couch. I woke praying again and then took some time to meditate on His word with a cup of coffee. The words that I will carry with me today are from Matthew 16:25 "Whoever loses his life for Me will find it"along with the thought of Elizabeth Elliot, "The only escape from self-love is self-surrender."

My list for today looks like this...

*Family Meditation and Dedication time
*School from 9:00-12:00 (Clean the Playroom when I find a chance)
*Lunch (Clean the Floor, moping and scrubbing)
*Reading Time for Littles ( Clean Living Room)
*Family Art
*Rest-Bible Study and Prayer with Superman
*Clean Bathroom
*After Rest and Bible Story/Snack time take time to Clean Boys room
*2 Loads of Laundry: washed, folded and put away!

For dinner we will have our favorite: Homemade Pizza with a Salad.

Something extra that I will hopefully have time to work on today is a Praise and Thanksgiving Jar for us to focus our heart each day.

JOYfully in Him,
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Home a Haven


"Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.... Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?" Matthew 24:42,45

When I read this verse I reflect on my calling as a servant of God... wife, mother and homekeeper and how faithful and wise I am? I am serving Him in complete consciousness or just unconsciously all the while. Am I just going through the motions or is my whole heart in it, my hands are moving but what about my heart? is it following closely behind or is it no where to be seen? The Lord has called me to serve Him wholeheartedly with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength... and that can not be done unconsciously.

When speaking about the Lord coming back I don't think of serving in fear but more in anticipation and joy of His return! When He comes, like a thief in the night, will I be ready as the wife of His servant, the mother of His children and the keeper of His home? Each day that He so graciously gives me is another opportunity to prepare for His possible coming. Can you imagine your beloved being gone for years and you know that he could return at any moment, in your sincere love for him you would keep your heart and mind pure and your hands and feet busy at his unknown coming. This is how we, I think, should live in our callings as we wait for His unknown coming. We are the bride of Christ awaiting His arrival, hopefully soon.

Practically when I walk around my home thinking about what this means I turn to the Proverbs 31 example, the image of a woman who was conscious in her daily high and holy calling. She was the woman that Titus spoke of when he told the older women to train the younger women... we can read that text of scripture and then see an example of what God was talking about in Proberbs 31. She is our ultimate vision as women living out His calling on our lives and she is the vision of a woman who lives in joyful expectation of her Lord.

This week at The Homespun Heart, Monica is encouraging us in one area of our calling which greatly reflects on the other 2 of being a wife and mother... Making Our Home a Haven. (HT to my amazing and encouraging friend Amy, thanks!)


To me - it means being intentional about investing in my home. The actual dwelling, those who live there, time together, and of course, others who will enter. Being focused on God in light of our responsibilities at home creates a precious view of our homes and our families.


Monica's personal reflection on what haven means to her above encouraged me to think about what it means to me. For me it is simply the dwelling place of our heart, a place where Christ is alive, where His peace reigns and provides shelter from the world that surrounds us, it is the place of launching His righteousness through our lives and children, it is the place where we are not only loved but loved, accepted and embraced even in our quirky-ness and where His grace is supreme. Making our home a haven means being conscious, staying awake in this highest and holliest calling of being a keeper of His home! A home is not always these things, but a haven is. A home is often fleed by its dwellers, a haven is the place we flee to. A home is not always safe, secure and sacred but a haven is... a haven of His righteousness always is. That is why our homes are not only havens for the indwellers but also the passerbys and daily visitors as some of them will flee their homes to dwell under the refuge of His righteousness found in the haven's we consciously labor in love for our family but mostly for our Lord.

This week I am going to be focusing on being a home keeper for the Lord... seeking Him in this calling... devoting myself to ways to improve and enhance my home keeper duties. Being a home keeper is not all about just keeping our homes clean, there is much more involved.
Today's challenge is to Tidy Up!!
(I will update tonight hopefully with pics)

JOYfully in Him,
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Morning Devotion

This morning I woke up only half heartedly ready to devote my day in service to the Lord. It is the beginning of a new week but I still feel somewhat hung over or burnt out from last week's busy and exciting schedule. These are the moments when I must simply walk obediently in faith... in discipline not so much desire and motivation. Sitting here on my couch looking out the window at the leaves softly and silently falling to the saturated ground from last nghts rain I feel calm and peaceful but I know that if I sit here to long I will begin to feel slow and lazy...


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Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Beautiful Life

I can not help but think about how beautiful life is or how beautiful it could be if we could but learn how to be free... and live simply in our Father's love... forsaking the cares of this world.


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Steven Van Kranenburg meets his sponsored child



May COMPASSION burn with us drawing us closer to His heart.

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