Friday, April 27, 2012

Encouragement in the midst of trials

I have recently been going through a growing period in my Christian walk with God, and I am so grateful for it. I was comfortable yet uncomfortable for far too long, crying out but not receiving. Acknowledging but not letting go. Awakening once again to the truth that that is not ALL God has planned for me is exhilarating after slipping into period of passivity. He allowed me to fall, contrite and destitute but for a moment, His saving mercy and grace came swooping in. "Earthly comfort" is not what this life is about, and I do not believe that that is what God has for me! During this time of repentance, healing and growth God has used precious, precious souls to pour HIS heavenly comfort into my own life, and I am overwhelmed with how good my God is. His love for us is unfathomable, undeserved but yet He pours it out freely. The knowledge of that alone, brings peace, joy and freedom into any situation.

Praise to the God of All Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 1 Corinthians 1:3-7

In the New King James version, this verse reads "tribulation" instead of troubles, and when I think of tribulation, I instantly feel as though I have never gone through that! But trouble, tribulation, we've ALL had a dose of it whether mild or severe, and it has rocked our world. The beautiful realization I get from this passage is just how amazing God is at orchestrating an outpouring of His overwhelming comfort, through His Spirit covering those believers who are suffering!  As they pressed into God, as the trial pressed into them, a peace that passes worldly understanding covered them. And it doesn't stop there, it is then passed, like a torch to a fellow brother or sister in Christ through the testimony of those who have already been comforted in the midst of their tribulation. Trials, the crushing we receive through our suffering, opens us up to receive God's precious comfort. Comfort is receiving what we need at the moment! God uses trials as a channel to receive comfort through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Trials come for many reasons. Whether it be to wake us up to sin present in our lives, smacking us back to living in accordance with the truths of His word, to strengthen our faith or solely for the purpose of glorifying God and benefiting His kingdom; tribulation causes pain, growth, joy and comfort when it pushes us deeper still into our Heavenly Father's purposed arms. Praising, communing and living for Him today is what it's all about! Eyes open, heart soft, body and soul praising Him alone.

What a beautiful day today is to have the privilege to serve the Lord!

Monday, April 23, 2012

For such a time

"Have I been born-then born again-and brought through all of my life experiences for such a time as this?"

Father, make known to me the difference between restless unsatisfied flesh, always allured by change and the restlessness of my God breathed spirit, being grown and spurred on by Yours to be moved from it's current position, breaking free from the comfortable and soaring even higher, further than ever before.

If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:10-11

Make me Lord, a dreamer for Your kingdom. Plant in my heart, heavenly desire, grant faith that can say, impossibilities shall be! And vision lest a world should perish not knowing Thee.

Make me Lord, a dreamer for Your kingdom. I would aspire to greater goals my God. So cause faith to rise, to motivate each word and deed. A faith that's well convinced that Jesus meets ev'ry need.

Make me Lord, a dreamer for Your kingdom. Dreams that will change a world that's lost it's way. May dreams that first found their birth in Your omnipotence, come alive in me, becoming reality.

-Make Me, Lord, A Dreamer, Chris Bowater

 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
Mark 8:34-38

All is Grace

"Out the kitchen window the sky rolls out. Apple blossoms fill all the orchard. The morning dove warms her bluing hope. I can hear Him, what He is telling the whole world and even me here: this is for you. The lover's smile in the morning, the child's laughter down the slide, the elder's eyes at even tide: this is for you. And the earth under your feet, the rain over your face upturned, the stars spinning all round you in the brazen glory: this is for you, you, you. These are for you--gifts--these are for you--grace--these are for you--God, so count the ways He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, that when you wake in the morning you can't help but turn humbly to the east, unfold your hand to the heavens, and though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful, and you can slow and you can trust and you can receive each moment as grace. Eucharisteo."

~One Thousand Gifts

Friday, April 20, 2012

A beautiful five

My lovelies-while on an impromptu outing to the park. 


Morning talk with God

   Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4

   I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God's greatest gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.
F.B. Meyer 

"To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower. 
In the upside-down kingdom of heaven, down is up and up is down, and those who want to ascend higher must descend lower."
Ann Voskamp-One Thousand Gifts

In the brand new light of the morning(5am to be exact-Zzzzz), God speaks. I am thankful for this day after days of hardships, depressing thoughts, anger and darkness had lingered long.  God grows! He tends to his seedlings, bringing them back to the beginning, back to humility. To then raise them up into fruitful blessing, drenched in purpose! 

God is so good... and He longs to pour His goodness out upon the desolate places of our lives.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:

To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then your light shall break forth like the morning,

Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:5-11

Monday, February 20, 2012

I am SO not an artist(it sort of looks like she's choking on a horse head), but I love the picture that James paints with the words of:

James 1:26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.

It's all about what's going on, on the inside. (:

Friday, February 17, 2012


God is so good to speak through His word!

Today it was through James 1:21-25 for me:

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."

Let's ALL become obedient active listeners, doers of the word, walking the walk, glorifying God because "we were created to be satisfied with nothing less than the fulfillment of our original purpose." -Beth Moore

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small project

Even though small and insignificant a project it may be, the growth and confidence that takes place from the process and finished project is what makes it purposeful, useful and good.
This scarf will be wide, long and WARM. Oatmeal colored yarn, large needles, a simple knit and pearl design...
Going to keep pressing on and knitting away until it's done!

A night out

Time to break out the sparkles, get our dancing shoes my high heels on, visit with our community, support our local businesses, and enjoy each other's company at the Malheur County Center Ball.

We braved the dance floor... just so you know I am not a dancer. I could be I suppose, I just have never really polished up in that area. After watching some of the dear older couples kicking up their heels like they we're seventeen again, I SO want to learn how to dance! I've been inspired.

Beautifully enthralling, young at heart.

A beauty of a borrowed dress, a new Premier Designs necklace, 8 pounds lighter(from all of the running I'm doing these days{okay, and a little changing of the diet, too}- check out my running blog to see why!), and the sweetest kiss from my husband and I felt like a million bucks. Haha, although we we're probably the poorest couple there, financially speaking!

Tried a few fatal gutsy moves anyway, just because, why not!? Really, we had so much fun. It was a magical night!

My dad and mom, what amazing strong people they are. Their generous willing spirits touch our hearts daily.

 It was a joy to spend an evening out with them at the ball-music, dinner, laughter and dancing. Simply lovely.
When the time came to head home, my Main Man and I of course had to put our adventurous shoes on and walk home, by the light of the stars, breath visible, ending the night with peace, quiet and reflection.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There is not much more lasting or precious than the love between sisters. The bond only grows stronger with age. Although four years age difference stands between my angel and fifth blessing, it seems to shrink in importance as they grow. I awoke to these two cuddled on the floor under a blanket whispering and giggling away like best of friends.

It made my heart glad.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This day

This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

" I get dressed, mommy, I get dressed!!"

Only an enthusiastic 2 year old, with a smile like that can get away with wearing a long sleeve shirt as pants. As I am writing this, my fifth blessing is meticulously putting a puzzle together in the living room, Genesis 32 is being read by The Streaming Bible online, I'm sipping an americano that my mama dropped off for me this morning, about to grade this weeks schoolwork before we ALL head over to our friend's house to play and RUN(training for a half... very slowly... but surely), family dinner date at friends' tonight and my oldest daughter is organizing papers in our attic to make $5 for the kid's "dog fund". Good, good day.

Yesterday my husband, 3 oldest daughters and I went skiing/snowboarding.  I have a snowboarder, a skiier and a zipper(my angel never stopped moving up and down the bunny hill. She was so fast off the chair to the hill, you'd miss her if you blinked!) My honey tried out snowboarding. He caught on quick as he usually does with physically challenging sports, but took some nasty spills from going to the top of the mountain(on his first day EVER of snowboarding!) Love him. We had an absolute blast! The sun was shining, the skies as clear as could be, we didn't end the day in the hospital and the snow was just about perfect. Only one downer... I'm as sore as can be!

God is good!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The weekend of drawn out birthday celebration was a success!
My try at free handing/eyeing/designing this cake with my angel lending a hand when needed was I believe a success! 

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to YOU
Happy birthday
my dear one
Happy birthday
to YOU!

Hand's on

Today for my angel's 7th birthday we went to the local aquarium for some interactive fun and learning!  Here a few of my favorite captured moments from our outing.

By the end of our adventure, there wasn't a dry sleeve in the bunch.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nothing but blue skies

Looking heavenward this year will take a choice. Daily. To believe the promises God has given us.

Live for the promise of heaven with me this year?

We will see Him face to face one day and rejoice with HIM for a life we lived to glorify HIM! Let's live our lives like we really truly believe that.

O, joyful day that will be. (:

Thursday, January 5, 2012



Where to begin... when did it END?  Whew, time slips by like a child quietly searching for mischief... well, this picture sums up what can happen when they do slip by:

And no, the tears are not because I scolded her for getting into mommy's eye shadow. This one is smart enough to know she's done something wrong the moment I discover her.


My fifth blessing is big part of why 2011 has flown by! Loving on and training this sweet girl seems to be what will be the end of me... but I wouldn't trade a moment of it... now, ask me tomorrow morning when she's screaming up a fit yelling,"I DO IT, I DO IT BENNET! You MEAN", and not sleeping peacefully in her tiny toddler bed, it may be another story...

Totally teasing!

Like a sweet man eased my mind by saying during one of her "I've made up my mind", strong-headed moments where she was loudly(while daddy was trying to do worship and mommy was trying to go over verses with Sparks girls)letting us know she did NOT want to go to her AWANA class(even the promise of treats wouldn't trick talk her into it!)or anywhere anyone else wanted her to go for that matter on this particular night, "She's a natural born leader that one."

"Well", I said," God's got a LOT of work ahead of him on this one then." (wink)

Last year was... draining. physically, mentally, spiritually-God only knows. So thankful He KNOWS:

each tear that fell
every dream left for lost
every blessing
the desires of our hearts
our deepest needs
our struggles
areas in need of cleansing and growth

He knows it all.

He knows I can't handle this brood all on my own.

Yes, yes I know, sweet and cooperative, that's them! Ha, and most of the time really they are... but what about those moments when they become wild, selfish animals who can't possibly be related to me!

Awe, shucks I love them anyway.

My mom, sister and I remain close and busy doing activities like home school field trips, bake days and exercise routines together regularly. Game nights, Monday night football with my Dad, drinks and singing around the fire pit, Christmas up at my grandparents cabin with just enough ice snow to make sledding probable possible, my oldest two getting baptized, trips to New York, Mexico(and very soon TEXAS(!!!!!!)) are definitely some of my favorite memories of this past year. I have too many to name.

God is so good. Smiling because of Him tonight.

2011 was busy for a myriad of reasons, and I am thankful that this new year I will be able to focus more solely on my family, blogging, photography and my walk with the Lord. There's nothing I hold closer to my hear than those.

Looking forward to 2012 and all the memories it's waiting to hold!