Tuesday, November 20, 2018

These Hands


At a recent retreat a friend who sells Mary Kay products brought me some hand products as a gift. She said she chose those particular products because when she thinks of me, she thinks of my hands. She went on to say that my hands are always busy, doing something and she thought I could use something to pamper them.

Wasn't that sweet? I love the fact that she thinks of my hands when she thinks of me. My hands are no longer beautiful and I can see the signs of age on them. I've never been a "pamper myself" type of girl so they've been through some rough times. They are developing age spots and the veins are starting to stick out. I have developed pretty bad eczema the past few years so they are always red, rough and itchy. But they have done countless activities as I serve the Lord, serve my family and my friends.

Yesterday, my hands...

πŸ™ Spent time in prayer.

πŸ™ Did multiple loads of laundry.

πŸ™ Baked a batch of Christmas cookies for the freezer and made dough for more which is waiting to be baked today.

πŸ™ Answered emails for my district ministry.

πŸ™ Held my phone as I talked to my daughter on FaceTime.


πŸ™ Cut out fabric and sewed 8 coasters and 2 table runners.


πŸ™ Packed up 3 boxes to be shipped today.

πŸ™ Packaged up 2 orders and sent them in the mail.

πŸ™ Held my husband's hand.

πŸ™ Made dinner for my family and dinner for a friend.

On any given day my activities may be a bit different, but all of my activities involve my hands. I'm happy to use them as I serve the Lord. They may not look like much but throughout the years they have rocked babies, held the hands of a multitude of children (my own and others), prayed for and with people, prepared meals to many to count, and worked hard. 

They are my hands, and the hands of Christ to those around me.


Teresa of Ávila ~


"Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours."

Monday, November 19, 2018

Multitude Monday



Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, pies...all the things people look forward to this week. Family, friends, fun and fellowship are anticipated and giving thanks and counting our blessings is what most people will be doing on Thursday. 

But do we give thanks every day of the year? Do we praise God no matter what is going on in our lives? Do we pour out a sacrifice of praise, meaning it costs us something - praising not only in the good times, but when it's difficult? That's not as easy to do, is it?

For the past four Sundays, I've had strips of paper on the seats of church for people to write one way they have seen God work in the last week or one thing they are thankful about. I have turned them into a paper chain and it's been fun to watch it grow each week. I started by hanging it on the cross at the front of the church as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice. We can offer up a sacrifice of praise because of the sacrifice He made for us. 

This week is full of busyness and fun. But in the middle of the activity don't forget to give thanks. Don't forget to offer up words of praise. Take time to pray and be thankful for the very breath that is in your lungs.

Let's offer up a sacrifice of praise to our Heavenly Father.

This week I am thankful for blessings #3,466 - 3,480

3,466. The beauty of first snowfall.



3,467. The privilege of spending time with a friend home from the hospital and praying for her.

3,468. My 3D Kids program has started up again and I'm so thankful for these little ones that bring me joy and fun.





3,469. I'm taking a public speaking intensive and it's been fun and challenging. We each have a few minutes to speak on a topic and then there is a time of positive critique. I look forward to this each month.

3,470. Holiday baking. I'm thankful to have a kitchen to work in.



3,471. Teens that enjoy coming to church and are involved in our service.



3,472. A church where all ages worship together and enjoy one another.





3,473. A husband who takes good natured ribbing about his team. He ran next door to our house after the service and changed into this for our potluck. He has always rooted for the underdog! lol



3,474. We had a Thanksgiving potluck after church yesterday and there was so much food. We're never sure how much food will show up but this time there was an abundance.



3,475. A great crowd yesterday which uplifts everyone's spirits. People don't realize how much their missing church affects the rest of the church. I was talking with someone yesterday about this and they were agreeing. Small attendance affects the atmosphere, the worship and to be honest, the pastor. So after quite a few weeks of low attendance it was wonderful to have a full house yesterday.


3,476. A church family that genuinely loves each other. This is such a healthy church, and it's refreshing. It's certainly not perfect and there is always something that every congregation struggles with, but healthy relationships are not the issue in this church.







3,477. Teaching these young ones. They are a challenge at times and our church is small which means we have mixed ages in children's church. We also have children with some disabilities so I make an exception many times for age cut-offs, but I love being able to teach them about God and how much He loves them. My prayer is that some of what I teach gets through!


3,478. That pile of food in the background of the above picture are donations that people brought in for Thanksgiving baskets. We were able to pack and deliver about 7 baskets this year. In years past we've gotten a list of names from our public schools and delivered to random families. This year, we decided that we had enough people in our own church who struggled or knew someone who did that we would deliver the baskets that way. It worked out much better and we know the people who needed it were getting exactly what was needed.

3,479. I was contacted by a shop yesterday, asking me if they could carry some of my items. So yay!!! I've been praying about ways to bring in some money without sacrificing my current ministry and consecration process. My sewing business seems to be picking up steam and is something I can do from home.

and finally...

3,480. The joy I feel this morning as I count my blessings! 

Don't forget to leave a comment here to be entered into my blog give away!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Blog Musings and a Holiday Giveaway

It has been almost a year since I've done a giveaway and I thought this would be the perfect time of the year for it. I have been blogging since 2008 and have met some wonderful people through this blog. I love writing and sharing my life in this way and have been encouraged by so many people from around the world. It amazes me that so many people take the time to read my words.

Sometimes I think I should narrow in a bit more and keep this blog to one topic such as devotionals or just about marriage or another particular subject, but the reality is my life has so many different facets and God works in me through all of those so I really don't want to narrow it down.

Sometimes I'm sharing something I'm learning as a parent. Another time it will be a lesson I've learned in my spiritual walk. And still other times it's just a snapshot of my daily life or a recipe. But in all these areas I do try to point people to God because I believe that He is the reason we live and move and can do anything. 

I also try and keep it real. Just because I'm in full-time ministry does not mean I have it all together. I stumble and fall just like everyone else. I'm trying to figure life out as I go just like you are, and sometimes I get it right, but more often than not, I get it wrong. But when I do, I get back up, and if necessary, ask God to forgive me and keep on moving. So I hope that as I share these things that it encourages someone out there.

Comments on my blog are not as frequent as they used to be and some of that is because blogger changed things so that unless you are computer saavy it's hard to leave a comment without a blogger account. Other reasons could be people have just moved on, or blogging isn't as popular as it once was. 

But I enjoy writing and this is the way I express myself best so I'll keep on writing!

Now on to the blog giveaway. If you would like to be entered to win a little box of handmade goodies from me, please leave a comment here or on Facebook or via email between now and next Saturday, November 24. I'll put all the names in a basket and pick a winner and will announce it on Monday, November 26th.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Snow Day Musings


 

Edith Sitwell ~

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 

It snowed last night and it is the first significant snow of the year. Because the snow is supposed to continue for part of the day, schools are closed here. So Dan won't be tutoring today and Stephen's substitute teaching job was canceled for the day.

Our house is small so there is no where to go to get away from the noise which means my plans have changed a bit. I have chatty people living with me who don't need the same level of quiet that I would like at times. So it's more than likely going to be a day of baking and sewing and games and chatting. The only thing missing is Emily. Dan is going to get her on Wednesday morning and she'll be home for the holiday weekend.

I was reflecting on the above quote and how Dan and I have worked hard to create an atmosphere of honesty and openness. We want our children to love their home. They have never been the normal morose teenagers. They have been open and honest with us for the most part. They tell us their struggles and they come to us with their problems. And I'm not sharing this so you think we are perfect; we're not. Sometimes the sharing is messy and upsetting and our responses are not always appropriate or Godly, but I am thankful that the lines of communication have always been open.

One day I was fussing to Dan about Emily talking about something and he said, "At least she shares with us." "I never told my parents anything going on in my life." And that helped put it in perspective because I was the same way.

So our family has moments of getting frustrated or angry with one another, but we work it out quickly and we never leave the situation unresolved. We talk through our issues. We pray with one another. Each one here knows they are loved. Almost every single conversation or text message is ended with the words, "I love you." and to have my adult children tell me that each day warms my heart.

Today I may start to feel irritated by all the noise, but then I'll remember that I have family around me to make that noise and take a moment to thank God for that fact. Snow days may be an interruption of my normal routine by I am thankful that I have people who love me around me to make those interruptions.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

It's Here!




Cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Christmas fabric. Bits of bright paper and scribbles of gift ideas on the pieces of paper. Filling orders. The humming of the sewing machine and the humming of Christmas carols.

The season is upon me whether I'm ready for it or not. I've been trying to figure out gifts and plans and Advent readings and kid's programs, yet it feels like it's happening all too soon. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week but I pulled two turkeys out of the freezer to defrost for Sunday's Thanksgiving luncheon at church which means it is here.

Trying to figure out gifts for adult children who respond, "I don't know." when I ask them what they want is not easy. I kind of miss those days of toys and surprises and fun!

I made dough for molasses crinkles this morning and they will be headed to the oven later today. The children in my 3D Kids program were practicing a Christmas song last night and I started to feel the holiday spirit overtake me. 

So while it's hard to get started, I know that I'll be in the full swing of holiday preparations soon enough. I had this moment of "YIKES!" yesterday as I realized we usually put up our tree right after Thanksgiving. 

I guess I better think about clearing a path to the Christmas bins. ;-)

Have a blessed day!

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!!! πŸŽ…

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.