Friday, February 22, 2013

I Know Who Goes Before Me

1:45pm and I'm still in my jammies. It's one of those days.

Truth be told, I rarely need an excuse to stay in my pj's, but today I received news that left me stunned and teary. Change is a comin' and I'm trying to adjust to the thought.

No sicknesses, no babies-on-the-way, just change. It could be good for I see the good that might result, but I feel safe where I am and really don't want to face the possibilities.

The Lord has prepped me. I look back over the past couple of months and see the whispers He's left in my ear.

Two weeks ago a friend faced similar changes.  I sympathized and then said I'd pray, never imagining that I would be in the same place two weeks later.

I know the Lord has a plan; I trust Him. The path has gotten a little foggy today and I don't see the next step very clearly, but I know who is still in the lead.

On the new Chris Tomlin CD, Burning Lights, there is a song entitled Whom Shall I Fear. The chorus says,

"I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind.
The God of angel armies is always by my side."

With gusto I've sang that song driving the freeways with my girls in tow. I've sang it confidently. Today I sing it 'cause I need it.  Just a little afraid. Could be good. Could be bad. Could be a mixture, but it doesn't matter, does it? If we remember who goes before us, we should not be afraid.

So I did the best thing I could think of doing...I crawled back under the covers and read a mystery novel.

Let someone else have the drama for a few hours.  Prayer would be good too. ;)

If you would pray for me, I would appreciate it. I will fill you in on the details over the next few months, but I just can't share today.

Thanks so much!

Monday, February 18, 2013

P365 - Week 7

I've enjoyed getting to see the fun things that Amy posts every week on the P365 link at her blog: The Frans Clan. Blog linkies are always a fun way to make new friends (and to keep the old. ) Check out what everyone is doing this week here.

Sunday, Feb 10 -
I got fooling around with my plastic lunch ware and Rhett took it one step further - a spoon pirate!

Monday, Feb 11 -
Meet Bella, our new horse. She is sweet, gentle, social and has won our hearts!

Tuesday, Feb 12 - 

Hey! I'm Bella, the new (and only) blond at the Martens' house. 
Today I had a photo shoot with mom in my new digs.

Mom kept trying to get me to pose, but I just wanted to follow her around for the treats she was hiding in her pocket. Smart thinkin!

I finally got tired of the horse play and let mom catch me in the sun. She wanted to show off my whiskery chin, I think.  We'll see you around!

Wednesday, Feb 13 - 
Organizing prop closets at church

Thursday, Feb 14 - 
My goobs dressing up for Valentine's Day at CoOp.

Friday, Feb 15 - 
Katie's first cupcakes made all by herself!

Saturday, Feb 16 -
My nephew from Florida had a flat cardboard cut-out of himself sent to us and we had to take him on a tour of Washington DC. This is my favorite shot at the "top" of the Washington Monument. I'll try to give you the grand tour later this week.

P365 - Week 5 & 6

During week 5 of P365 (a picture a day) I got discouraged because I had missed two days. Funny thing is I thought about taking pictures on those days, but they were so boring I couldn't think of anything worth sharing.

Missing those two days got me down. I had the internal whining of "I can't believe I've already missed two days in the first month.  Why keep going?" Wah, wah, wah!  I did keep going, but failed to get the pictures on the computer and posted. I kept telling myself to "just keep going" (Can you hear my Dorie voice? "just keep swimming, just keep swimming!") and not to care about falling behind.

I've gotten so discouraged with falling behind the past two years that I've given up, but this year I set a goal to finish I'm plugging away. For me it doesn't matter if it's late, as long as it gets done.

With that, enjoy weeks 5 & 6...

Sunday, Jan 27 -
On Sunday nights we attend Awana (a Bible memorization club).

Monday, Jan 28 - 
We went shopping on a drizzly afternoon and all I came home with was an empty Jelly Belly wrapper. Imagine that!

Tuesday, Jan 29 - No picture

Wednesday, Jan 30 - No picture

Thursday, Jan 31 - 
The girls spent the afternoon at the local skating rink.

Friday, Feb 1 - 
I needed to make some progress on desk organization. It wasn't really working for me so I cleared everything off and started over. (all except the lamp, water bottle and the friendship bracelet my 9-year-old was teaching me to make.)

Saturday, Feb 2 - 
We checked out a local homeschool Science fair

We cried when Mike and Ruby went home to their owner. 
Then we took ourselves out to dinner.

Sunday, Feb 3 - 
A co-worker brought in a quilt that her grandmother had made since she knew I was into quilting. 
What a masterpiece! It had so many fun details and I enjoyed looking at it for quite awhile.

Monday, Feb 4 - 
Exactly where she's not supposed to be. Sigh.

Tuesday, Feb 5 - 
Enjoying Rhett play on the keyboard.

Wednesday, Feb 6 - 
We live on a one lane dirt road so when they trim the trees around the power lines you get to wait.
We were trying to get to a homeschool open gym class (our first time) and were told they would finish in 10 minutes. 45 minutes later we were on our way.

We finally made it to the gym. Downstairs had a rope climbing wall, a rock climbing wall, inflatables, soccer and basketball. Upstairs had a room full of plugged-in exercise. The girls tried it all.

Thursday, Feb 6 - no picture

Friday, Feb 7 - 

Saturday, Feb 8 - 
Mark and I took the girls to Benihana's for dinner; their first time!

You can catch up with the others over at Amy's blog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One for Two!

About a year ago I read my first Jennifer Chiaverini novel, The Quilter's Homecoming.  This book is actually the 10th in a series and because I enjoyed it so much I went back and started reading from the beginning. I blame Mrs. Chiaverini for a narrow scope of reading last year instead of my usual variety, but it was a wonderful year spent with new quilting friends. In fact, I would say that because I read this series I went out into my new town and found a quilt guild, in hopes of, in some small way, sharing in the camaraderie that I found within these novels. (Now I feel better for reading one series in one year.)

I just finished book 19 (out of 20) and found it to be one of the most interesting reads. It was a good story, one that I would recommend, but she used a writing technique that I found captivating.  The Quilter's Homecoming was published in 2007 and Sonoma Rose in 2012, however, both share the same story line from two different characters' points-of-view.

The Quilter's Homecoming follows Elizabeth, cousin to the matriarch of the series, as she embarks on life in California with her new husband. It was a fantastic book and I enjoyed it immensely.  Elizabeth befriends a Spanish woman named Rosa who is being abused by her husband. He runs the local post office out of their home so there are several interactions between Elizabeth and Rosa. In the end Elizabeth is instrumental in helping Rosa change her circumstances.

Five years later...we embark on the same story inside the post office via Sonoma Rose. Elizabeth is coming to visit Rosa, our main character. It was a little strange at first and I wondered where the author was going to take the story. Mrs. Chiaverini flawlessly filled in the back story and we then followed Rosa into her new life, full of suspense and surprises.

I shared this story writing technique with my son who hopes to be a writer someday and he was fascinated that she pulled it off so convincingly. After thinking about the difficulty of writing a "fresh" story from two perspectives I was thoroughly impressed. Mrs. Chiaverini pulled it off and I enjoyed the second even more than the first, probably because I knew what was going on just down the road, so to speak.

Mrs. Chiaverini is a wonderful writer, but when she pulls in historical elements, whether it be the Civil War or the Roaring 20's, she is a masterful story-teller.  I have one more book to read, The Giving Quilt and I'm a little sad that I will not have a Chaiverini novel waiting for me on the shelves when I'm done with it.  I do have a variety of books that I'd like to get back to, but I will miss my quilting friends and their ongoing story.

If you are looking for light reading, whether you are into quilting or not, I highly recommend The Elm Creek Quilters series. I think you'll make some new friends along the way, as well.

My favorites: The Runaway Quilt, The Quilter's Holiday, The Aloha Quilt, The Union Quilters and Sonoma Rose.

My least favorites: Circle of Quilters, The New Year's Quilt, The Quilter's Kitchen.

You can find all you want to know about Elm Creek here.

BTW, Jennifer Chiaverini has written a new book outside of the series, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.
Looks interesting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Singular Focus

I often have BIG plans that I want to do for the Lord. My interests are varied and I often think, "if only the Lord would give me clarity then I would know where to focus my passion."  Even before getting to pray about this (for the umteenth time) the Lord reminded me of His answer - to make Christ alone my focus. I should make Him the only vision on which I've set my eyes.  Contemplating that thought, I realized that Christ could do so much more (all those areas of interest, plus!) if I focused solely on Him.

I want to do something "big" for God; He wants me to allow Him to have control in the "small" things: my attitudes, reactions, body, relationships, etc. He wants me (not such a small thing.) Along the road of transformation He will use me to impact others, but He needs a surrendered, focus-on-Him partner for the work to be great!

On the day I was thinking about this I went to the wrong chapter of Acts to continue my reading. I love when the Holy Spirit gives us a detour.  I read Acts 16 which tells about Timothy joining Paul & Silas on their travels. In Philippi they meet Lydia. They are in town to encourage the believers, but this possessed girl keeps annoying Paul...for days. Finally, he turns and excises the demon, but this doesn't make the town happy. Instead they see red and a mob drags them into the market to beat them and throw them into jail. (Although it isn't written, do you realize that Timothy, as a teenager, could have been beaten and jailed along with them. Maybe he escaped the mob and was safely tucked away at Lydia's, either way, he was a witness to what happened.)

At midnight "they" (more that Paul & Silas) are awake, probably because of the pain from their beating and "they" are listening to Paul and Silas pray & sing.  Was this a leader's response to encourage the team or did they just need to hold on to God for themselves? No matter the motivation, they were doing the right thing - focusing on Him!

They encounter a miracle earthquake. Do we pray and expect them? Actually, they encounter two miracles: the earthquake and a whole family coming to know God. At that moment don't you think it was probably worth everything they went through to see the work of the Lord in the salvation and baptism of this family?! If you don't think a resounding, "Yes!" then I hope you'll ask the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation.

Paul, Silas and "they" hang around; they don't run off in the night. The magistrates want to send them away quietly, but Paul confidently, actually defiantly, sends a message back that they made a big mistake by beating and imprisoning Roman citizens.  They are asked to leave town, begged it says, but first Paul and Silas go to Lydia's to encourage the believers. Then they are on their way.

Why was this chapter so compelling this week? We've all heard the story so many times! I was blown away by how Paul and Silas focused on God despite their circumstances. This is the way to live IN the world, but not OF it! 

Just remember, make Christ your sole focus and He will make something out of you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

God's Heart for You

For God so loVed the world,
     That he gAve
          His onLy
                     That whosoever
    believeth In Him
       should Not perish,
    but have Everlasting life.

- John 3:16

Purchase in card form here.