Sunday, January 3, 2016

Scripture Writing

Have you tried Scripture writing?

The only time I've ever written out passages of Scripture was as a aide to memorization.  The act of writing helps me, as a visual learner, "see" the verses in my head. Anyone else?

A friend of mine, Amy, and I teamed up as partners in the 2015 Siesta Scripture Memory plan hosted by Living Proof Ministries. Beth Moore has hosted a Scripture memory plan every other year so we needed to come up with something on our own for 2016. Amy introduced me to a scheduled Scripture writing plan hosted by the Sweet Blessings blog. You can read about it here. (She has a cute printables too!)

I've written out the passages in my prayer notebook for the first 3 days of January. After that, I used the rest of my page to record a prayer that flows from what I just jotted down. It's been very encouraging!

If you're looking for a fresh new way to have the Scriptures come alive for you, you may want to give Scripture writing a try. I'm glad I did! 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Take a Snapshot of Christmas

We haven't started putting away Christmas decorations around here yet, but when we do, I've taken pictures of all the holiday displays I created this year so that when the Christmas boxes get pulled out NEXT year, I don't have to reinvent the wheel.

It's a little trick I learned while moving. I took pictures of how I had filled my bookshelves so that in the new digs I wouldn't have to organize and rearrange bookshelves all over again. Worked like a charm!

Here's a few of our Christmas displays.

(I love the little clear reindeer in front of the tree!)

I didn't realize how minimalistic I am until looking at the pictures.  A little bit of knick knacks is all I can handle, really. I enjoy the added decor, but I'm also looking forward to putting it away in the next few days.

How do you feel about Christmas decorations?

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Fresh Start

Fresh starts. How we all need them at various times in our lives, right? I always look forward to the turning of the calendar year with a renewed optimism which I find funny since most people would describe me as a glass half-empty kind of girl. There's just something about a NEW year filled with hope, possibility and change. I love it!

In the past 18 months I have posted only 10 times.  It has been a difficult 18 months, some of the hardest of my life. I've felt defeated, discouraged, ready to give up and certainly not in any mood to write about it. I've often thought of taking down my blog, but I could never quite do it. I hoped there would be brighter days ahead that I could share with whoever was willing to listen.  In the last 18 months I've faced scary health challenges, a terminal diagnosis for a parent, a child running away from the Lord, a move to another state, my mother-in-law moving in with us, the loss of work for both my husband and I, months of unemployment and unexpected deaths of extended family members.  It's been hard. I was so ready to put 2015 to rest last night. Good riddance! Hasta la vista! It's silly how much joy I get out of saying good-bye to 2015!

I have a hope and that is why I look forward. That is why I don't want to give up writing. I have a future that's prepared for me and I want to walk through it with my eyes on the Lord. He has never left me alone.  He's carried me, walked with me, propped me up, given me strength, taught me, guided me, quieted me, sat with me, held me. He is my everything. I have never known it more than I do today. I may be stripped of everything, but He will never leave me and that is enough. Truly.

Many of the circumstances mentioned above haven't changed. Life is still hard, but I have a hope. I place my trust in the One who is trustworthy.  I have no idea what 2016 will bring. Will it be filled with even more faith-stretching challenges? Will it bring a respite? Who knows? Who cares, really. It's not about the circumstances; it's all about His story. I'm just a part of it and I want to reflect Him well.

During some of my darkest days this year, a pastor spoke on Psalm 77:19, "Your way went through the sea and Your path through the great waters, but Your footprints were unseen."  When you are in the middle of God's will with your back against the wall, God is still with you, but His path may be unknown.  He will provide for you today; be quiet and see what He will do. (Ex. 14:13-14)  Your message, despite any circumstances, should always be "God is good and I still love Jesus" no matter how it turns out. Why? Because it's true. No sacrifice on my part compares to what the Lord has sacrificed for me.

While listening to the reading of the Christmas story in Luke 1, I sensed the Holy Spirit say to me about verse 37, "For nothing will be impossible with God," "this is what you are to focus on in 2016." Nothing is impossible.  I then wanted to respond like Mary did in verse 38, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

The most discouraging part of the last 18 months was how often my faith wavered, how many times I wondered if God was going to come through. What I've learned most is that He is not in the business of fulfilling my expectations, but in fulfilling His own. Faith is not about getting what you want; it's about trusting the Giver of all good things.

So I leave you with what I hope to be the first of many blog posts of 2016. Trust Him. He is faithful and He can do the impossible.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

2015 Catch Up (Hollywood Studios)

Hollywood Studios!

 Streets of America

 Tower of Terror - one of the girls' favorite rides

Toy Story! My favorite ride!

Fantasmic! The best show in the park!

I love Mickey!

The Christmas decorations were still up! 
So magical!

Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 Catch Up (Epcot)

Epcot is our "return to" spot. 
We have eaten in almost every country in the park 
and some of the countries, more than once. Such a yummy place!

You don't get to see my hubs and I very often so here we are. 
Wish you could see my Minnie Mouse bag - so cute!





Tara's knee was hurting so her sister pushed her around in the rain.
There is a body attached to those legs...somewhere.

Sick of the rain, sick of getting my picture taken...
yep, one for the album. Scary!

Good night, Epcot! You make us full and happy!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 Catch Up (Animal Kingdom)

Several years ago we spent a few days at Disney World and we've wanted to return ever since. In January we took time off to enjoy the Florida theme parks once again! What a treat! We walked 49 miles that week, and although we were tired and achy it was totally worth it!

The excitement began...

We enjoyed staying at the affordable All-tar Movies Resort.

We put on our armbands; we're ready to go...

Animal Kingdom -
We've never been to Animal Kingdom before 
and it was by far, our favorite park.

We saw lots of animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari.

We saw A Bug's Life show in the Tree of Life. 

We had breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe.

My family assured me that Expedition Everest was a smooth roller coaster and that I could handle it! Ha! That's me in the blue with my eyes shut! Katie is beside me, trying to talk me through it, and Mark and Tara are behind us acting like they're bored. Sheesh! 
I bought the picture to capture my VERY LAST rollercoaster ride. 

It got a little rainy, but ...

We still had a roaring good time at Animal Kingdom!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Catch Up (Botanical Gardens & Katie's birthday)

A lot has happened in my life/our home during the past year and I haven't really wanted to talk about it outside of the family. We've faced a lot of stress, heartache and changes, but the Lord is faithful. At times, I wish I had been more willing to take you on the journey with us, but often words were just not there.  It was easier to not write.  There has been fun along the way, but since I was out of the habit of posting, I didn't share the good times either.

To try and help me get back into writing regularly, I'd like to recap our 2015 highlights so far.
Sound good? Let's see what fun we've had.

I'm actually going to start the recap with a visit to the U.S. Botanical Gardens in Washington D.C. during the last week of December. We visited during the Christmas season to see the amazing natural displays of the iconic architecture of the city. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

 The Capitol

 The Lincoln Memorial

 The Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument 

 The Library of Congress

and three of our favorite people - 
my parents (plaid shirts), and Mark's mom (stripes)

Katie celebrated her 13th birthday, first with family - 

(looks like a future blackmail photo to me!)

Then with friends - 
(fun at the local trampoline place)

Next we were off on a big vacation! Come back tomorrow to see the pictures!