I have entered the world of blogging! My purpose? To stay connected to friends and family and invite you into my world. A world filled with fun, tears, laughter, excitement, elation, disappointment and all the blessings of being a mother and wife.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

25 Names of God

I think I might seriously go into shock when I wake tomorrow morning to the fact that it is DECEMBER 1st!! I've said it a million times but time sure does fly!

With December first comes the count down to Christmas. Over the last few years we have celebrated the anticipation with various advent activities, crafts, outings, stories etc. But last year I felt very convicted that our focus was not on Christ as much as it should be. Not that Christmas crafts or outings are bad but I just felt the tug to make this Christmas even more about anticipating the birth of Christ, our greatest gift of all.

Instead of putting slips of paper with our daily advent activity inside our advent calendar doors, tucked inside will be a different name of God. Now try limiting it to 25 names, it was hard! Below is the list of names and Scripture references that we will be reading each day. I'm excited to see how this will bring us closer to Him and expand our knowledge of who He is. Not just for my girls to learn but for Jeremy and I as well.

25 Names of God

TEACHER: John 13:13

TRUE LIGHT: John 1:9

JEHOVAH-SHALOM: Judges 6:24 meaning: "The Lord is peace"


BREAD OF LIFE: John 6:35

COMFORTER: John 14:26

COUNSELOR: Isaiah 9:6

CREATOR: 1 Peter 4:19

DELIVERER: Romans 11:26


FOUNDATION: 1 Cor. 3:11

FRIEND: Matthew 11:19

GENTLE WHISPER: 1 Kings 19:12

GOD WHO SEES ME: Genesis 16:13


GUIDE: Psalm 48:14

HOLY ONE: Acts 2:27

HOPE: Titus 2:13

KING OF KINGS: 1 Timothy 6:15


MESSIAH: John 4:25, Redeemer

OUR PEACE & PRINCE OF PEACE: Ephesians 2:14 & Isaiah 9:6

POTTER: Isaiah 64:8

REDEEMER: Job 19:25

SAVIOR: Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas

Just for fun...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Greetings

Wishing you and yours a wonderful day of giving Thanks! Today I'm so very grateful for a God that never stops pursuing me, for my husband, my girls and my family, friends and my country.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Super Yummy & Comforting Baked Oatmeal

I just love this baked oatmeal! It is filling and delicious. It is yummy served warm or cold over plain yogurt.

Mix 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup brown sugar and 2 eggs. Add 3 cups oatmeal, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 1 cup milk.

If you desire add 1 cup of fruit. I've tried blueberries, dried cranberries and chopped fresh apple (with the apple I added a touch of cinnamon), all have tasted great.

Bake in 8x8 dish for 35 to 40 minutes at 350. Recipe easily doubles for a larger crowd.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Creating Traditions Part Two of Three: Celebrating Thanksgiving

Last year I decided that I wanted Thanksgiving to be more than just eating too much food. I want it to be a time of reflection, to be thankful for all my blessings. To encourage my girls to stop, think and be thankful. I'm still learning how to do this but I wanted to share some ideas I have come up with and have learned from others as well.

Share the Bounty of the Holiday: Invite someone to your home for the Thanksgiving meal, a friend, college student etc.

Yearly Thanksgiving Scrapbook: Bring a scrapbook to the family gathering and have each person write one thing they are thankful for on a sheet of scrapbook paper and include a group photo. OR you can have each person write on paper what they are thankful, then have them hold it up and snap a photo.

Cozy Book Nook: Create a cozy corner with a basket of books about Thanksgiving, the history, special stories or poems about being thankful. A great teaching moment for your children about being thankful for what they have. Also, provides the opportunity to learn why we celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place.

Skip Shopping and Have a Family Fun Friday: Turn off the computer, cell phones and the TV. Spend the day as a family playing games, reading books, eating leftovers and just enjoying each other.

Art Table: Embrace the idea of the kid table, cover a table with white paper and at each place setting have a box of crayons with the child’s name on it. They can draw while they eat!

This is our first ever kid table (2009). Grace traced a turkey cookie cutter, I cut out the turkeys and she finished them with hand stamped names.

Thankful Jar, Garland or Tree: Cut out some paper leaves and have each family member write what they are thankful for on the leaves. Put them in a decorated jar, hang them on a tree or string them together as a garland.

We created our first Thankful Tree just this afternoon and we love it! Using a large brown piece of butcher paper I drew a tree. I then cut it out a taped it to the wall in our front room. I had some paper leaves from a long time ago that we used to write out what we are thankful for. It was a simple way to talk about thankfulness. The girls really enjoyed doing it! I had to stop them so we had leaves for daddy to use!

*Recycled post from last year* :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My One Thousand Blessings

Almost a year ago already I discovered an amazing book that has seriously changed my perspective on life. The book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" written by Ann Voskamp. It is a must read for everyone especially moms and those bogged down by the daily routines and the struggles that life often dishes out. Ann's style of writing is AMAZING to say the least. It is poetic. She shares her story of breaking through the darkness and truly living in the joy that God has promised. I know for myself personally I have struggled, as a Christian, wondering where the joy in my life is. God has promised us joy but honestly, I couldn't find it. I shared once that our joy is in Christ, yes, but Ann has reminded me that I must continually seek Him, give Thanks to Him and then I will fully experience His joy.

It is simple really and so true. If you look within Scripture you will find that before the miracle has taken place, before the feelings of contentment and joy (even in the worst of circumstances) THANKSGIVING has taken place. Philippians 4:6 reads, "in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord" and also in 1 Timothy 2:1 "First I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to Him". Paul writes, in Philippians 4:11-12, "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have". The key word here is learned, it takes practice and it is a choice to choose joy and to give Thanks. To take time each day, multiple times a day, to give Thanks to the Lord for all blessings. David took time, three times a day to stop, pray and give Thanks. Everything is a blessing. Even the difficult things. Even the dirty dishes, the piles of laundry, the whining children, the rain....are all blessings. We must take the time to re-frame our thinking and see the blessings. We can only feel one emotion at a time. We can choose to be annoyed and let our thoughts fester on the moment OR we can choose to give Thanks. For example (one I'm teaching myself) "Thank you Lord for two girls that have strong wills and are learning to work out things with each other" (my girls fight frequently!).

Ann was challenged by a friend to write out one thousand blessings. The simple act of writing out the blessings she saw each day taught her to seek out the blessings in ALL circumstances. I was inspired by Ann and have started my own journal of blessings. I leave it on my kitchen counter so I don't forget to use it. I'm still learning (very much so!) but do take time and write down my blessings. It truely has changed my perspective. Knowing that I want to write something down, encourages me to look for the blessings. And remembering that each and every moment is a blessing, helps me to choose Joy. We do have a choice in how we will live each moment. The Lord does not say there will not be difficult times. In fact He says there will be but He promises to be with us through those times. If I can remember this and remember that the irritating things in life are not that big of a deal, then I am SO much more JOYful!

You can visit Ann's blog A Holy Experience by clicking HERE. You can sign up for daily emails and I highly recommend it. It is SO encouraging! She's real and struggles too but she's learning to choose JOY. She takes awesome pictures too!

Here is the beginning of my list:

1. Clear blue skies
2. Cool morning breezes
3. Fresh hot coffee
4. Gentleness between my girls
5. Many shades of green (Oregon is GREEN!)
6. A warm bed to sleep in
7. The color red
8. Park playdates with friends
9. Fresh berries
10. Keeping Jeremy safe (he had an accident at work)
11. Healthy children!
12. Camping trips
13. Running water
14. Fresh water
15. Big imaginations and creativity
16. Friends to call on when you need prayer
17. Healthy children (added by Jeremy)
18. Dance
19. Clean floors
20. Experiencing nature