Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Signed By: JESUS

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands..."
Isaiah 49:16
Last month, I wrote a post titled "Lavish Love" (click here to read)" about a surprise party I hosted for my hubby. I shared about many wonderful and unexpected blessings on that occasion, including some precious hearts that were touched by God's lavish love through His people. These hearts were those belonging to some of the restaurant staff. " A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
It was on my heart after the surprise party to send Bibles and devotionals to four of those new friends on the restaurant staff as a "thank you" for their excellent service. While I was not as efficient as I would have liked to have been in sending them out, I prayed for God's perfect timing and orchestration. I prayed their hearts would be fertile and hungry for Him. I prayed over each Bible and devotional as I wrapped them up. I prayed for the recipients, that God would pursue them and that they would pursue Him, that they would KNOW GOD. "Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." John 17:3
After writing personal notes to each of the four recipients, I headed out to the shipping store. I had e-mailed the one gal on the banquet staff at the restaurant to let her know a package was coming to her attention. She seemed surprised, excited and thankful.
Now, I am quite sure they were not expecting to receive Bibles and devotionals when we told them we were sending them some "thank you gifts". I am not really sure what they expected, but something tells me Bibles would not be on their top ten list of guesses. And that's OK. I sent them off trusting Him.
Every day after sending the package off, I would pray for God's covering and His work. Many days went by and I didn't hear anything from the recipients, which was perfectly fine. However, making sure the package arrived safely was on my mind. So, several days after I sent the package, I got on the website and put in the package's tracking number. I prayed: Lord, can you please just let me know that You are using these Bibles and devotional for Your purposes? Would you please just show me that you have this all covered and that you are "on it" with these precious new friends? My desire is for God's legacy and glory to be lifted up, for the sake of His great name, and for the sake of these precious souls. "Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me." Psalm 31:3
When I entered the package's UPS tracking number in the on-line tracking sytem and the results came up on my computer screen, my jaw dropped and I lost my breath. Here is what is said (I cut and pasted this from the UPS site):

Delivered UPS has delivered the shipment.

Delivered To:

Signed By:

Do you see that? "Signed By: JESUS". Jesus!
Now, I know that the fellow who signed for this package may have no idea that the Lord used Him to show me His faithfulness (or maybe he was an angel and is well aware!), but oh how I was doing the happy dance! I think I may have even tinkled in my pants!
Signed By: Jesus. He's on it. He's got it covered. He loves our new friends at the restaurant with an everlasting, pure and perfect love. Let the pursuing begin!
Whoooeeee....He's on it indeed!
Signed, sealed and delivered!
"One will say, 'I belong to the LORD '; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, 'The LORD's,' and will take the name Israel. "This is what the LORD says—Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God." Isaiah 44:5-6
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Corinthians 3:2

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Glory Baby & Heaven's Lullabies

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."
Psalm 116:15

(Please turn up your volume if you'd like to hear the song "Glory Baby" by Watermark.)

In May of 2001, our little family lost a precious little baby who was taken gently from my womb into the loving hands of our Heavenly Father. This precious baby was after Joshua and before Gabrielle. Glory Baby was so small that we did not even know the gender yet. It was Mother's Day and we had just shared the news with our families that we were pregnant with our second baby.

I remember distinctly the moment God graciously impressed His plan upon my heart. As we were driving home from a Mother's Day dinner we had enjoyed with family, we came to a stop at a red light, and I felt God whisper to my heart, "My precious child, the baby in your womb needs to come home to Me." At that moment, I knew something wasn't right with the baby, but I shushed the whispers away. I trusted the Lord, and He had already given us a precious son in Joshua. However, I was not quite ready to hear the whispers. Yet I knew He was so tenderly preparing my heart.

Shortly thereafter, the miscarriage began. While sadness was in our hearts and it was a difficult time for us, we were also thankful that God, in His mercy and grace, saw fit to bring this baby home with Him. I was also thankful that the Lord had so sweetly prepared my heart.

A friend from my church with whom I was on the worship team sent me a song on a CD called "Glory Baby" by Watermark. This song ministered His love to my heart. This song helped me get through that time, keeping my eyes on Jesus.

I am not sure why, but I am thinking about our Glory Baby today. Maybe because it is spring and Mother's Day will be just around the corner. Maybe because I saw the friend in church this morning who gave me the CD of "Glory Baby". Maybe because He wants me to pray for women and couples who are going through this right now (I have been praying today). And maybe because someone who visits here will be blessed by hearing "Glory Baby", too.

Our two precious children know about Glory Baby. They know they will meet their sweet sibling in heaven. Glory Baby has a few special pages in one of our Creative Memories albums. On one of those pages are the words to the song "Glory Baby" by Watermark.

GLORY BABY by Watermark

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby.. You were growing, what happened dear? You disappeared on us baby…baby.. Heaven will hold you before we do Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you… Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday Miss you in every way But we know there’s a day when we will hold you We will hold you You’ll kiss our tears away When we’re home to stay Can’t wait for the day when we will see you We will see you But baby let sweet Jesus hold you‘till mom and dad can hold you… You’ll just have heaven before we do You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to understand it ‘cause we’re hurting We are hurting But there is healing And we know we’re stronger people through the growing And in knowing- That all things work together for our good And God works His purposes just like He said He would… Just like He said He would…
BRIDGE: I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies and what they must sound like But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

So, our sweet Glory Baby, let sweet Jesus hold you until we are home with you and we can hold you, too. We can only imagine heaven's sweet lullabies. We love you.

"My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with You."
Psalm 139:15-18

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Sassy Start To Spring!

"He changes times and seasons..."
Daniel 2:21
Spring got a little sassy yesterday morning making her 2009 debut by greeting us with a light blanket of snow. This first-day-of-spring serendipity sparkled beautifully as the new season officially began at 7:44 AM yesterday. We were delightfully surprised by the beautiful snow announcing spring's arrival.

After school yesterday, we enjoyed the traditional first-day-of-spring free water ice at Rita's Water Ice! Rita's all around our area were packed with happy faces waiting in line for their favorite flavors of Italian water ice...FREE!

This past week was full of festivities as Jim and I celebrate our birthdays each year just two days apart. It is always a fun week of March celebrating with precious family and being remembered in beautiful ways by wonderful friends. We were treated to and enjoyed delicious meals (a few too many!) and made many special memories with the kids. We are so thankful for all of the Lord's blessings.

Celebrating my St. Patrick's Day birthday.

My 100% Irish mom (Nan Nan) with our Irish lad and lassie.

Aunt Anne kicked up her heals with her Irish dancing team in the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade last Sunday!

Jim's parents treated us to some Italian delights on Jim's birthday

Jim's mom always makes him his favorite cake...German Chocolate

We are enjoying the afterglow of a week blessed bountifully by the Lord. Our hearts are thankful to Him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! (And Congratulations 100th Blog Post Celebration Give-Away Winners!!!)

"Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart."
Psalm 119:111

Top of the mornin' to ya! Are you wearin' your green today!?!?
Remember, everyone is Irish today!
My sweet mom, Eileen, is 100% Irish.
Her parents came over on a ship and crossed the threshold into America through Ellis Island.
This is one of my mom's favorite day's every year as she loves her family and their Irish heritage.
Oh, maybe she likes St. Patrick's Day, too, because one of her children (oh, that's me!) was born on St. Patrick's Day. To have a child born on St. Patrick's Day was a dream come true for her! Every year growing up, my birthday cake had green icing. My siblings and I were decked out in green. Even now as adults, we all remember (usually) to wear green on St. Patrick's Day. And yes, I am passing that tradition down to our own Irish lad and lassie.

It's fun to do a little research on St. Patrick, who actually was a Christian missionary.
"As one of the earliest Christian missionaries traveling abroad to spread the Christian faith, Saint Patrick is important because he serves as a testament to the overall missionary legacy of the church. His example afforded later Christian missionaries the opportunity to assess the best methods to employ when confronting pagan groups abroad. Perhaps the most significant aspect of Saint Patrick’s missionary efforts in Ireland was that he transcended the boundary between church hierarchy and prominent church fathers in terms of the viability of missionary pursuits. Saint Patrick proved that any Christian could live out the Scriptural commandment to spread the word of God while “exalting and confessing his wonders before all the nations that are under the heavens.” Patrick’s example would inspire later missionaries to undertake great missions to evangelize abroad in later years."

Here is an excerpt from a prayer written by Saint Patrick called "The Breastplate Prayer".
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today

So, I arise today (yes, wearing green) thankful to the Lord for my family heritage, for the precious little family He has given me, for the best girlfriends in the world and for those who love Him who have prayed for me over the years and who shared His love and truth with me.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Drink some GREEN tea today!

Now, for the really important business of today.....
here are the winners to the 100th Blog Post Celebration Give-Away!
While these numbers were chosen by, I did pray to the Lord for the winners, and I don't believe anything with Him is "random"! :)

Here are your random numbers:
23 42 63 79 46 66 69
Timestamp: 2009-03-16 20:34:46 UTC

#23 Vickie: "Woman's Secret to A Balanced Life" by TerKeurst and Jaynes & Peanut Chews

#42 Stephanie Nester: "Jesus Calling" devotional by Sarah Young & (which treat??)

#46 Michelle at My Journey to Hope: "Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner" by Wendy Blight & (which treat?)

#63 All For Him: "Mining For Gold in The Heart of Your Child" CD and Character Chart by Renee Swope & Peanut Chews

#66 Barbara Ann: "Wise Words For Moms" by Ginger Plowman & (which treat)

#69 Vickie at AnooCre8tion: "Holiest of All" by Andrew Murray & Peanut Chews

#79 Sherry: "Out Of The Mouths of Babes" by Wendy Pope & (which treat?)

IF YOU ARE A WINNER, PLEASE LEAVE ME YOUR E-MAIL SO I CAN CONTACT YOU FOR YOUR MAILING ADDRESS! CONGRATULATIONS! (And if you did not indicate Tastykakes or Peanut Chews, please let me know that, too!)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit, those who entered the give-away by commenting and to those who visited quietly. May you know the depths of His personal love for you this day and every day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pentagon-Level Planning

If you are visiting here for the 100th Blog Post Celebration Give-Away, please scroll on down! You can leave your comment to enter to win until Monday 3/16/09 at 3 PM!

"...bring all these beautiful girls...
and let beauty treatments be given to them."
Esther 2:3

Beauty treatments. They are biblical, right?? A little hair color now and again to perk up the personality of my hair and to cover up the gray is all I'm askin'. To me, that qualifies as a beauty treatment.

I was chatting with a sweet sister in the Lord yesterday who just recently gave birth to her fourth child. My friend is adorable, athletic, in good physical shape and she loves Jesus. She is just a sweetheart.

While chatting with her, I noticed her hair color looking so fresh and fabulous. She said one of our other friends, who is a hair stylist, recently colored it for her. I said, "Wow, good for you! It takes Pentagon-Level Planning for the mom of a little one to take a shower, much less get her hair done!" As a woman and mom, I was so happy for my friend that she could enjoy the simple pleasure of having her hair done. A "beauty treatment" for a woman not only perks up the quaff, but also encourages the soul!

Oh, this little luxury of my mom-of-four-children-with-one-of-those-being-just-a-few-months-old friend getting her hair done reminded me of when our cherubs were so young. It seemed like the smallest of tasks required Pentagon-Level Planning. Showering. Grocery shopping. Going to the Post Office. Cleaning the house. Every detail had to be in place for any of these tasks to be accomplished.

While our children are still young (almost 7 and a solid 8), they are old enough now that we have a little more flexibility, though at times the Pentagon-Level Planning is still required.

These few moments catching up with my friend yesterday has moved my heart to prayer for moms who are in the Pentagon-Level Planning phase of life with little ones. While it is a precious and treasured time of motherhood, it can also be so challenging. The blessing and sweet priority of caring for those cherubs, and the sheer delight of a daily shower...what a crazy blend! Oh, I remember the days when my daily shower was a wonderful luxury that refreshed my heart. I treasure the days when the cherubs were babies and toddlers, and yet I am thankful my daily shower no longer requires such high-level planning.
Lord, help me be mindful of friends still in this phase of motherhood. Move my heart into action so I can be a vessel of Your love and help to them. Show them Your faithfulness moment by moment. Though their worlds may be necessarily very small right now, may they cherish this precious season of motherhood. May moms know deep in their hearts that taking care of the children with which You have entrusted to them is the most significant, important and meaningful ministry. May all of us serve our families As Unto You.

In whatever phase of motherhood you are, make it your priority to be in His Word daily, even if having your quiet devotion time takes some major Pentagon-Level Planning. Soaking up His truth is the best refreshment of all! In my whole life, there has been nothing like motherhood to keep me on my knees in prayer to Him and absorbed in His Word. Total dependence on Him. I've still got quite a long ways to go...and I am hanging on to Him!
Thanks for stopping by! Now, I've gotta run and go get that beauty treatment! It is biblical after all!
"...refresh my heart in Christ."
Philemon 1:20

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

100th Blog Post Celebration Give-Away

"Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the LORD's command, Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages..." Numbers 33:1-2

Updated 3/17/09 - To see the list of winners: CLICK HERE for the 3/17/09 Post!

Amazing! As I wrote in my "God Always Gives Us The Right Verse For Each Day, Mommy" post, He's done it again. Today, in my March 11th reading in the NIV One Year Chronological Bible, I am in Numbers 33 where it records the stages in Israel's journey to The Promised Land. I found it so interesting that 40 places in their journey were recorded. 40! A significant Biblical number. This record of their journey demonstrates God's faithfulness and deliverance to the Israelites and His generous lovingkindness in His great gift to them of the land of Canaan.

This verse from Numbers was perfect for today for our 100th blog post because, for my husband and me, that is what Joy In The Truth has become to us...a record of the stages of our journey with the Lord through life. Our blog records some of the wonderful ways He is showing us His faithfulness, perfect unconditional love and provision. We pray this little blog in cyber space brings Him magnificent glory in some small way.

Originally, I was inspired to start blogging by reading my friend Heather's beautiful family blog. Serendipitously, I have made some friends in Bloggityville, like Jill, Kelly, and Susan. Jill's family even had Heather's family and my family over for dinner last year! (Jill happens to live less than an hour away.) Kelly and I are planning a trip to New York City in the future to be in the studio audience of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"! (That is a fun girly trip I take via train at least once a year and invite a few girlfriends along.) And Susan's energy and enthusiasm literally come through the computer screen to me!

For this 100th Blog Post Celebration, hubs and I will be giving away 7 books that get you into God's Word. Just leave a comment to enter to win. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 3/17/09, which happens to be my birthday (and St. Patrick's Day!)! "...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35

Here are the books we are giving away. If you already have one of these books, please just note that in your comment. Each winner will also receive one "Philadelphia treat" - see below.

"Holiest of All" by Andrew Murray Thank you, Jill, for introducing me to this book. It is a treasure of a study on the book of Hebrews.

"Jesus Calling Devotional" by Sarah Young One of my very favorite devotionals first given to me by my friend Nancy, and now available at P31.

"A Woman's Secret To A Balanced Life" by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes My friend Laura S. gave me this book as a gift, and I'll never forget that day. The Lord used this book mightily in my life when I was a sleep-deprived new mom. He ministered His love and truth to me through this book and got me back into His Book daily. He is our sustenance and portion forever. Lysa has become a friend as the Lord has gently woven some rare but precious threads of our lives together in some amazing ways.

"Mining for Gold in The Heart of Your Child" - CD and character chart by Renee Swope Have you met Renee? She is passionate about raising children in the ways of the Lord and according to His Word! This is a wonderful resource for parents.

"Out of the Mouths of Babes (Learning God's Precepts From My Preschooler)" by Wendy Pope Wendy Pope loves God's Word. She is currently hosting hundreds (thousands?) of women (and a few men) in reading through the Bible in a year. God is doing a mighty work as she invited others to join her...the response was amazing (click here to read the story)! Wendy has been such an encourager to me as I desire to walk in obedience to and dependence on the Lord.

"Hidden Joy In A Dark Corner" by Wendy Blight This recently-released book is next up on my reading list. Wendy shares her testimony of God's faithfulness to her through a very dark time. I respect and admire Wendy for sharing this part of her life as she brings glory to God for His perfect love for her. (And Wendy turned me on to a really "cool" clothing place!)

"Wise Words for Moms" by Ginger Plowman This is a great resource for applying specific scripture while raising children to honor Him. I have had this since our cherubs were just little tots, yet it applies to people of all ages.

In addition to the book, each winner will receive one of the following treats (I have given them away before and they were a real hit...especially to those who have never had them before!) -- Tastykakes or Peanut Chews, two companies based nearby in Philadelphia! Just indicate which you would prefer when you leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and check back on 3/17/09 for the list of winners! :)
Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

BJ's Fashion Finery

"She selects wool and flax ..."
Psalm 31:13

...or she goes to BJ's Wholesale Club and selects a frugal, yet fashionable, jacket!

My dear friend, Cheryl, and I both love BJ's Wholesale Club. We've even run into each other there on occasion. We often compare notes about the great products we purchase at BJ's and the competitive prices. BJ's accepts coupons (some other wholesale clubs do not). I am a coupon clipper, so this really excites and motivates me!

One day recently, Cheryl and I realized that we both were wearing winter jackets that WE BOUGHT AT BJ'S! Now, honestly, I had never previously purchased items of the textile nature at BJ's. Detergent, snacks, paper products, toiletries...these items are on my regular list of things to buy at BJ's. But clothing? It never occured to me! But a few winters ago, as I was walking by the few clothing racks at BJ's, the pink jacket caught my eye. Though I have received many compliments on it, I did not always reveal where I had found the jacket. Who would think BJ's carries cute jackets!?!?

That day when Cheryl and I realized we were wearing matching jackets (hers is stylish black), we looked at each other and laughed, exclaiming, "BJ's!!!!!!"

So, while you may have the routine items you buy at your local wholesale club, don't be too quick to pass by the clothing racks without taking a look! You might just serendipitously find something that is "just perfect". Fashion Finery can be found at BJ's!

Me and Cheryl as "Room Moms" for our daughters' 1st grade class.

Cheryl and I are both reading through the Bible in a year. I am reading the NIV Chronological Bible. It's fun to compare notes. And let's just say, it was a journey getting through Leviticus, but we both looked for His treasure of truth for us.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gathering and Growing in Him

"Come, gather together..."
Revelation 19:17

Our Proverbs 31 Gather and Grow group pictured above had a pajama night when we gathered in February!

Each month, a wonderful group of women gather in our home for a "Gather and Grow" study and fellowship. God has given His life to this special and diverse group of ladies as we come together to seek Him in His Word, to fellowship and pray together, and to encourage each other in our walks with Him.

Currently, we are reading through "What Happens When Women Walk By Faith" by Lysa Terkeurst. At the end of each chapter is a Bible study. We each have been reading the chapters and doing our Bible studies at home through the month. When we come together, it is exciting and encouraging to discuss and listen to all that God is doing in each woman's heart and life as they seek Him in His Word.

We often have a "Make His Name Great" portion of our evening when one of our gals shares her testimony of salvation or something the Lord is currently doing in their life. As glory is given to God for His mighty works in our lives and hearts, our faith roots grow deeper and He knits us together in Him. "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf!" Psalm 66:5

In February, our lovely Nancy led us in worship before we began our study, which was such a blessing. Here is Nancy (keep in mind it was "pajama night"!).

For me, the real proof in the pudding is when the husbands of the girls in the group say how much the love Gather and Grow for their wives. The husbands are seeing the fruit of Gathering and Growing in Him! One husband has even given a few other names for the group, such as "Hang Out and Sprout" and "Assemble and Resemble"!

Here is what a few of our gals have shared about what "Gather and Grow" means to them:

"The group has been like the Word lived out among women who are free to be real and vulnerable as we read the extraordinary testimonies, encouragements and exhortations from the book and respond from the heart." - Jenn W.

"After attending several Gather and Grow get-togethers, I was reflecting on what makes this group so special to me. Although I love to participate in in-depth Bible studies on my own and with my church, there has been an aspect of my walk that I always seem to put on the back burner. Because of family obligations, my work schedule, and trying to keep my house somewhat clean, I have very few opportunities to simply hang out with other girls who just love Jesus. Meeting once a month has been a highlight for me. The atmosphere is very relaxed which makes it easy to let your guard down and really be yourself. I can already see how the Lord is working in our group and meshing our hearts together." - Nancy C.

"Something beautiful is happening to the diverse group of women my girlfriend has prayerfully invited together to 'Gather and Grow.' What started as a refreshing fellowship time is now after several months becoming a deep heart connection between women. We are being challenged to obedience to Christ in all we do. Thanks to the swiftness of the Internet, we have instant communication for prayer needs and praises. We are not only developing a more intimate relationship with Jesus, but an accountability and closeness with each other. The safety that is being felt by our group is being expressed in the testimonies that have been shared over the past few months.Sharon, who leads our group, puts every detail before God in prayer and yield to His leading. Yet she is able to maintain a structure and proceed with our lessons. The goal of Gather and Grow is more of Jesus and less of me, and yet our Lord blesses me each time we meet with remarkable gifts. I count this time we have together as one of the most precious in my life." - Lucille O.

About 7 years ago, an intimate group of 4 or 5 of my friends began to together to do a book study and seek God in His Word. We started with the book "Woman's Secret to A Balanced Life", which my dear friend Laura had given me as a gift, and which I shared with these girls (and others). God used that book powerfully in my life to gently get my life's priorities in their proper place. While being overwhelmed with the blessing and life-changing challenge of having my first baby, my world had become off-kilter. My dear friend Laura's visit that day with this book and a Coffee Coolatta for me was a moment I'll always cherish. Truly life-changing.

Our small group of women met for several years each Tuesday evening and read through several P31 books that pointed us to Christ and His Word. Now, several years later, Proverbs 31 Ministries began official "Gather and Grow" groups...and that is the perfect name! Indeed, we gather together and we grow in our relationship with Christ, in our relationships with each other, and in His love, Word and truth. Our now monthly gatherings are an oasis of sorts. God is faithful to give us our portion every time we seek Him. Gathering and Growing in His Truth....a precious and wonderful place to be! By His grace, truth and love alone. We look to Him in all things, the Giver of Life.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

Acts 2:42

"Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth." John 17:17

Monday, March 2, 2009

"We Have Everything We Need!"

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

(Updated below at 6:05 PM)

The kids have a snow day off from school today! We have been hoping our area would have one more decent snow fall before spring arrives so the kids could have one more fling of snow-time fun!

We got them to bed early last night. By 7:30 this morning, they were bundled up in their snow-gear finery and outside helping Daddy shovel and snow blow. They also got busy building a snow fort and climbing trees.

At 9 AM, they came inside to warm up with some hot chocolate and toasted bagels. While they were outside, I made a quick batch of chocolate cookies (a friend is scheduled to have her baby girl tomorrow!), so they each had a very special treat waiting for them -- a mixer beater adorned with cookie dough!

After they prayed and thanked the Lord for today's snow day and all the special yummies waiting for them, Gabrielle exclaimed with enthusiasm, "We have everything we need!" Daddy, who was getting ready to leave for work, was nearby and said, "Yes, we have everything we need and more. God provides everything we need and blesses us with extras as well. And we have everything we need in Christ Jesus."

Gabrielle's excited exclamation reminded me of 2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." This has been a recurring verse to me this year and a great reminder and encouragement that HE, HIS DIVINE POWER, has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of HIM, who called us for HIS own glory and goodness. That is comforting, satisfying, reassuring and strengthening.

To Gabrielle, "everything we need" was sweetly and innocently satisfied momentarily this morning by hot cocoa, breakfast and a cookie dough beater. She loves Jesus and His Word, too. May we gently, faithfully and unwaveringly always point our children's hearts and eyes to Jesus, His Word and His divine power where we have been given everything we need for life and godliness. Satisfaction to the full. Satisfaction forever.

Enjoy your day today! Is it snowing where you are???

Evening Update:

The kids favorite part of the day! My younger sister, famously known as "Aunt Anne", came over this afternoon for several hours of playing and sledding in the snow with the kids! As I have said before, my sister is way more fun than me! (And I am perfectly OK with that!) The kids love her so much. They could see her twelve times a day and still get just as excited to see her each time. Here is a picture. (Notice the icicle Joshua is holding!) Thanks for coming over, Anne! Once again, you were my "oxygen" today! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Surprise Visit From Uncle Paul

Gabrielle hugging Uncle Paul.

Joshua taking a breather to
greet his surprise visitor, fan and spectator.

My mom loves when Paul comes to visit!
My big brother, Paul, who lives in Texas with his wonderful family, surprised the kids with a visit to Joshua's play-off basketball game yesterday morning (hello....8 AM game...ugh!). Paul flew up unexpectedly on Friday to attend a funeral. He e-mailed me on Thursday to let me know he'd be coming.
Joshua and Gabrielle were thrilled to see him (and a bit shocked, too!). They only get to see Uncle Paul once or twice a year. My younger brother, PJ, (Uncle PJ) and Paul provide loads of laughs and fun for the kids.

This morning, we all gathered at my mom's before Paul had to head for the airport. Though the time together was too short, we were thankful to be together, talk and laugh...and even make up a few sing-along songs. :)
We love you, bro!