Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Overflowing


Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV) ~

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.


Thanksgiving is a week away and this is the time of year when we think about our blessings. Yet, giving thanks is something we are called to do all year long.


Are you overflowing with thanksgiving today?  Are you so thankful for the blessings in your life that it spills out of you? Let's be known for our thankful hearts.  Let's remember to count our blessings instead of listing our complaints. 

As you go through your day today, get a piece of paper and pen, and see how many things you can think of that are blessings in your life.

Let thanksgiving overflow from your heart today and spill out onto those around you. 


Have a thank-filled day today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Getting Out from Under the Gloom




 

I've been really feeling gray and gloomy lately. Here in Central New York next to this lake, the reality is that much of the fall, winter and early spring is under a cloud. The sun peeks through from time to time but then the gray settles back in. And it's hard for this woman who craves sunshine and bright skies.

So when the sun does show everything else gets put on hold so I can get out and soak up those rays. Yesterday morning was one of those times so Dan and I hopped in the car and drove the few miles so we could walk. When I get outside in the fresh air I feel my spirits start to lift.

We are back to gloom and some wet snow flakes today. But I'm going to try my best to cheer up my "space."  I need to work on a presentation for tomorrow, but I'm going to put on some cheery music, do some sewing and also make a batch of Christmas cookies for the freezer.

It's hard to imagine, but next Thursday is Thanksgiving! It has sprung up on me this year and I don't feel prepared. We are going to my sister-in-laws but I need to get a plan in place for the items I'm contributing.

'Tis the season so I'm going to do my best to get out from under the gloom and get into that jolly mood! 

Ho-ho-ho!!! 🎅

Monday, November 12, 2018

Multitude Monday

Monday morning doldrums seem to be constant like a river. They come week after week and year after year.

I wake up, put my feet over the edge of the bed and inwardly groan. It's the start of a new week of the same old routine and the unending piles of laundry, dishes, dust and activities. And it seems that some on Mondays it is harder to get started, especially during the gray and dreary days of November. 



But on these Mondays I also remember that God is unchanging in His faithfulness, love and mercy. He also is constant like a river. He never fails me. His strength gets me through a particularly difficult day.

And that thought sweeps away the Monday doldrums and makes it a Monday that holds a multitude of blessings


This week I am thankful for blessings #3,451 - 3,465.

3451. A mother and grandmother who are generous.

3452. Getting through a crazy week and weekend.

3453. The beauty of first snow.

3454. Warm blankets and fuzzy socks.

3455. I didn't do as well as I thought I would have at the large craft event this weekend, but I am thankful that I made back my table fee.

3456. A good day of sales at our local craft fair on Saturday.

3457. Being able to help friends with their sales this weekend (we all shared a booth). My job was to pass out tea jelly samples and help in whatever way I could.



3458. Custom orders.

3459. Getting out to walk in between rain drops.



3460. The beauty of a rainbow.



3461. The anticipation of a quieter week ahead.

3462. Dinner out with friends last night. We were so hungry because none of us had eaten anything of substance since breakfast. So by the time 7:30 p.m. rolled around we were so hungry which turned into silly laughter. It was a fun night.

3463. A husband who was waiting to help me unload when I got home.

3464. A good night's sleep.

and finally...

3465. The lifting of my spirits that comes with counting my blessings.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sweat Shop



 



It's been a very strange week so far, and that is mostly because I've been sewing like I own a sweat shop! I took some time to walk when it's not raining, bake some Christmas cookies, answer emails and run our 3D Kids program last night, but then it was back to the machine. 

I had a Janome machine that someone gave me used back in 2009 and it served me well. It was just a basic machine and I used it for all sorts of sewing projects, including things it was never meant to do. But it died a slow and painful death and gasped it's last breath this week just as I was finish up a stocking.

But my mom and grandmother came to the rescue after hearing about the machine, and bought me an early Christmas gift. What a huge blessing! This is still a basic machine but it has a few more bells and whistles than the last one and sews nicely. 

So after losing half a day, it was back to work! The reason I'm sewing so much is that I sold a lot of merchandise last weekend and this weekend I have to make my items stretch over two locations. I'm participating in a large 3 day craft show at the state fairgrounds with friends who own a tea company. I went in with them on the cost of the booth which is hefty, and while it is mostly their booth with their hand blended, organic teas, I will have teapot cozies, table runners and adult aprons there. I'm hoping to do well there as the shoppers that come through number in the thousands.

Our church is participating in a town-wide craft event on Saturday and I decided to bring children's aprons, some runners, stockings and the rest of my items to that event. On Sunday afternoon, the last day of the other event, I'll bring whatever didn't sell at our church's craft fair. 

But it's making for kind of a crazy week and just reinforcing that I probably won't be doing double events next year. And depending how I do, I probably won't be doing that big event next year. I find that once it becomes about having to produce so much inventory, that sewing loses its enjoyment. And the reality is I don't have tons of inventory - about 10 or less of each of the larger items. The only other option to this is just to sew a bit all year round so I have it for these type of things.

Anyway, I'm making a couple of aprons this morning then I'm off to Syracuse to set up for tomorrow's event. I'll be there from 9-3 tomorrow, our church from 9-3 on Saturday, and then on Sunday I'm back at the other event in the afternoon following church.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Woman Worthy of Honor


For as long as I can remember my mother has been a constant in my life. We haven't always seen eye to eye and we are very different. I'm an extrovert and she's an introvert. I'm a risk taker and she is not. We think very differently about most things. I think I'm right most of the time, and she thinks she is right most of the time. 🤣

But when all is said and done, I'm so very thankful that she is my mother. Because I can think of two words that describe my mom that make all of our differences pale in comparison.



Faithful and generous

My mother is faithful to God and her family. She loves the Lord and is faithful is following Him. She does her best to live out her faith each and every day. She wants to follow and serve Him in whatever situation she finds herself, and she has been that way since she first accepted Christ in her life back when I was a 12 year old. 

She is supportive of her family. She has been there through thick and thin. She never waivers in her belief that we can do anything. She has been an emotional anchor whenever we need her. She hopes for, and sees the best for each one of her children, even when we haven't lived up to those expectations. 

My mom has had a hard life. She generally has not had much good happen to her. She was abused as a child and teen, was married to an alcoholic, divorced, and then raised three children by herself. Yet, she remains faithful. She is 75 years old and took care of my grandmother for the past 5 years until she couldn't manage her physical needs anymore. Then she moved her to a nursing home. 

While most people would go and visit their parents once a week and do their duty, my mother is different. She goes a couple of times a week and spends a few hours with her mom. She makes sure she is getting the care she is supposed to get. She genuinely loves and cares for my grandmother and the unusual thing about this is that they never had a good relationship. My grandmother was abusive and often said and did extremely unkind things to my mom. Yet, my mother remains faithful to her.

My stepdad is in the beginning stages of dementia and so my mom knows that her life is going to be one of a caretaker and it's a struggle for her at times. But she does it faithfully, every single day.

She is generous. She tithes regularly to her church whether she is there on a particular Sunday or not. She not only gives of her money, but she gives of her time. Even though she is 75 she still volunteers in many of the church ministries. 

She also gives to missions, as well as special requests from various friends or family for fundraisers. And she is generous to her family. There has been many times throughout the years when she has gifted us in some way.

I do not say this enough, but I truly do love my mom. I get busy and we aren't great at keeping in touch on a regular basis, but I am so thankful that God gave me the mom I have. She taught be a lot of what it means to be faithful, supportive and generous. 

She is a woman who is worthy of honor.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Multitude Monday

Thornton Wilder ~



"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."








I feel very aware of my treasures this morning and I'm thankful for another Monday in which to list them. It's been a great way to start out the week and keep my perspective right.

This week I am thankful for blessings #3,441 - 3,450

3441. Despite a week of pouring rain, I was able to get out and walk a couple of days.

3442. I'm thankful for the beauty of this lake I live next to. The sky and mood of the lake is every changing which makes it interesting.

3443. A husband who makes me laugh every day.

3444. Nathan has a new job coach who comes to the house and is very personable.

3445. Clarity for Nathan as to what direction he wants to pursue, and a great company he works for that provides him with good feedback and periodic raises.

3446. A great day of sales on Saturday. A friend texted me and asked how I was doing and while I wasn't close to my goal, I was fairly happy with the sales. She told me she was praying that my sales would far exceed my goal. I met my goal, but then about 25 minutes before the end of the day a woman came through and bought $80 worth of items which pushed far beyond my expectations.

3447. We started a thanksgiving paper chain at church and it's been such an encouragement to see the amount of people participating in writing one thing they are thankful for each week. The chain is growing!

3448. A kind grocery clerk who gave me a free $20 bag of shrimp just because I asked a question about bad shrimp I bought there a couple of months ago. Customer service at its finest!

3449. A quiet dinner out with my husband.

and finally...

3450. An awareness of how blessed I really am!

Because I have such a busy week, I'm going to put my to-do list here as well:

Spiritual/Personal Development
1. Bible reading/time in prayer 5 out of 7 days - 6 days done
2. Reading the next book for consecration - Growing a Healthy Church by Dann Sapder and Gary Mayes

Marriage/Family
1. Date night with Dan
2. Fill out FASFA for Emily
3. Find a certificate for Nathan somewhere in my files

Personal Health/Fitness
1. Walk at least 5 days out of 7 - I didn't meet the goal last week because it rained so much - 3 days done
2. Keep calories under 1,600
3. No sugary snacks!

Household
1. Clean both bathrooms
2. Run vacuum in living room/dining room
3  Make a batch of Christmas cookies for the freezer

Ministry
1. Bulletins
2. Email churches
3. 3D Kids starts this week - come up with lesson and music
4. Set up church for Saturday's craft fair - each year our town does a town-wide craft show and we participate with vendors, but we also offer a free make and take craft for children.
5. Come up with craft for Saturday! I have most of the supplies but need to just double check on something.
6. Call local nursing home about starting a Bible study there. A couple from our church are in there now and there is absolutely nothing for them and they asked if either Dan or I would be willing to do this. 

Sewing Business
Okay, I have the show at our church on Saturday, but then the big 3 day show which goes Friday - Sunday. I joined forces with a friend for the 3 day show. I'll be at the state fairgrounds all day Friday and half the day on Sunday. Saturday I'll be at our church. I need to figure out what is going where and also replenish a lot of the stock that sold this past Saturday.

I'll just list things here as I make them this week. - 2 children's aprons, 4 stockings, 7 table runners, 1 set of 4 coasters, 1 set of 6 coasters

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Lessening


Each year I pray about a word that I feel should be the theme for the coming year. As I think and pray about it, God generally leads me to a word and verse to focus on that year. This year my word was more. I wanted to decrease so that God could increase through me. I want more of Him to be glorified in my life.

However, the problem is that when you pray for an area of your life that needs work, God generally provides opportunities to practice! As I've been reflecting on many of the situations going on in my life and the struggles I've had this year, it's been about lessening.

To be brutally honest, it's been a lessening of my pride and increasing my humility. I don't think I'm proud but when I look at my reactions to things, it's generally because my ego is bruised.  

It's humbling to admit this here, but I want to be honest in my wrestling with God over this. As I look back over the year, I can see that God has been using different situations to help me decrease, just as I prayed a year ago. I want to live my life in such a way that He is the one getting the glory.

And that will only happen as I lessen and be willing to humble myself.


John 3:30 (NASB ) ~

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Snapshot








I had a busy day yesterday and it was mostly in the kitchen and sewing department. I made two children's aprons and a table runner. I baked a loaf of bread and made a pot of hamburger soup for dinner. I made 5 batches of tea jelly for a friend's tea company (35 jars in all).

My back is screeching at me this morning for standing so long in the kitchen, but I wanted to get the jelly done since she is going to a large food expo this weekend. 

I've been trying to sew a couple of things each day for the craft shows I have coming up and I've been slowly and steadily building up my stock. In fact, during the month of October, I made 8 teapot cozies, 8 aprons, 14 coaster sets, 3 placemat sets, 12 coffee cup sleeves and 4 table runners. It was just a little bit each day, but when I look back at the totals, it was a large amount!

I've been studying for my consecration exam as well. I find that I get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information that I'm trying to keep in my brain, but my husband told me to keep my answers short and to the point. So I've been working on answering them in a sentence or two with a verse or two to back up what I'm saying.

Today's daily snapshot includes studying, sewing some more, making a batch of Christmas cookies for the freezer and labeling the items I made in October and the past two days for a craft fair I'm participating in tomorrow.

Next weekend I'm participating in a huge one that takes place over three days at the State fair grounds. I will also have items at a craft fair at our church on Saturday. So it's going to be a busy week ahead.

I thought I'd leave you with the recipe for the soup I made yesterday. It was tasty!

Hamburger Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of beef stock
4 cups of water
basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of elbow macaroni

Directions:

Brown ground beef in stock pot. Add onion, garlic, celery and sauté until veggies are soft and onions translucent. Add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour. Add elbow macaroni and simmer until pasta is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year




I'm always happy when Halloween is over as it's one of those holidays that I really dislike. We are not entering into my favorite season - Thanksgiving and Christmas! I love everything about it and look forward with anticipation to this every year.

I made my first batch of Christmas cookies the other day and will start making some each week for the freezer. I've already started on some Christmas gifts. Advent activities and devotionals are in the works. We will be at my sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving and I have some goodies being planned for there. A Christmas-time open house is on the agenda.

It's a time of baking, sewing, secrets, and fun. It really is the most wonderful time of the year! 

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Light in the Darkness

Sometimes life is hard and overwhelming.  It seems as if you are walking in darkness and struggling to find your way.  It may be financial pressures, family relationships or health issues weighing you down.  It's easy to begin to get that panicky, anxious feeling. 

And yet, Philippians tells us to turn those concerns over to the Lord.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) ~

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As we pray about those concerns notice we are to pray with thanksgiving. When we do this we will begin to experience God's peace.  It's like a little light shining in the darkness.  It's a little glimmer of hope. The more we turn those burdens to the Lord and thank Him, the brighter the light shines.  That's not always easy, is it?  Yet, in order to experience that peace, it is a necessary exercise.

About nine years ago I started writing a list of things I was thankful for each week and I number them. Sometimes it seems a bit silly, but then I realize it keeps my focus in the right place.  It's a visual reminder of the many ways I am blessed.  And that keeps me thankful and brings some light to those dark days I experience sometimes.

Our church is working on cultivating an atmosphere of Thanksgiving this month and as we do that, let's start listing our blessings even in the middle of a dark time. It will be the light that sees you through.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Rhythm of My Heart





Now that  my season for retreats and conferences has ended for a few months and the holidays are upon us, I'm finding that my days are flowing nicely and there is a rhythm to each day. My life has always been centered around God, ministry and my family and the flow of my days reflect that.

I get up and pour my coffee, have my time with the Lord, usually catch up on Facebook after that and write a blog post (it's a bit late this morning), as well as do any email correspondence that needs to be done.

I take a shower and dress, do the breakfast dishes and throw in a load of laundry. I get a general idea of what I'm making for dinner and get the meat out to thaw unless it's a larger item that needs to come out the night before.

I usually do a few household chores and then I sew until lunch. I get lunch, watch a favorite show or catch up online while I eat. Then I'll usually do one big chore, work on consecration questions, read any required reading or work on a paper (though papers haven't happened since early Sept.). If I'm not doing consecration items, church ministry is replacing it. 

I try to walk in the afternoon though it's been raining non-stop so I squeezed that in this morning while the sun was out. Then I get started on dinner. After dinner, I'll watch the news while also catching up on more emails. Then it's either some sort of meeting (last night was a board meeting) or I'll watch a favorite show or two.

We go in the bedroom to read around 9:30 and then I'm usually snoring by 10-10:15. Then it starts all over the next day. Obviously, meetings during the day replace the above activities but this is the general flow of each day and I like it!  

It's the rhythm of my heart - ministry, family (both personal and church) and living a fairly simple life. 

I need to get my to-do list written up for the week so here goes:

Spiritual/Personal Development
Bible reading/prayer - 5 out of 7 days - I got my new Bible and am starting through it a second time in a different translation - 6 days done
Consecration required reading

Health
Walk 5 days this week - 3 days done
Keep calories to under 1600

Marriage/Family
Date night with Dan
Fill out FASFA for Emily

Ministry
Write newsletter for Great Commission Women
Email churches
Bulletins
Put up paper chain for thanksgiving activity we are doing at church
Monthly consecration report
Great Commission Women correspondance
Lunch with friend on Thursday

Household
Clean bathrooms
Clean sunroom
Dust

Craft/Sewing Business
I'm participating in a few craft shows this month so I need to keep going with stocking as one of the shows is huge. It's at the state fair grounds over three days and about 5,000 shoppers come through.

I'll just post things here as I make them: 12 coffee cup sleeves, 1 adult apron, 3 children's apron, 3 ornaments, 2 teapot cozies, 2 table runners, 1 set of 4 placemats, 2 sets of 4 coasters.