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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

25 March 2013

2013 March ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

MARCH 2013 
One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2013... and I am already to number... 

Today I find JOY in...

Fri 3/01
1258. working on the Worship Arts note - always brings me peace
1259. the promises found in a song based upon God's Word:

1260. early to bed for a big day tomorrow

Sat 3/02
1261. brunch at Cheri's

1262. seeing Debba's new place
(with Tyler & Kelsey along)
1263. Mahler 3 at CCM... and everything that went with it!

Sun 3/03
1264. cousins at church

1265. Sunday afternoon drive through Mounds State Park
1266. Indiana sunsets 

Mon 3/04
1267. early morning thoughts of God's love
1268. feeling grouchy - but, not being grouchy with my NK kids
1269. cousin crazy conversations - lots of laughter - over plates of spaghetti

Tues 3/05
1270. my little family of kids on the NorthKids van - so entertaining!
1271. HOME SWEET HOME as the snow storm bares down on us
1272. anguishing times, yet prayer partners to join in & knowing that God is GOOD

Wed 3/06
1273. snow day

1274. baby birds at the bird feeder
(well, ones who look like they just hatched this past spring)

1275. holding hands & praying w/the LOML - especially tonight

Thurs 3/07
1276. FaceTiming w/Ayla & PapaBear
(and him playing peek-a-boo)
1277. the rooster perching on the monastery door stoop next door!

1278. pink lint from the dryer & a pile of tiny little clothes

Fri 3/08
1279. the yearning to write my thoughts from my heart
1280. changing my Facebook status to please one of my little 8 yr-olds
"Just sitting here working with my favorite person... Sierra ♥"
1281. my husband... the TURKEY...
teasing me & bringing a smile to my heart at the same time!

Sat 3/09
1282. planning a fun day with our girls
1283. GreatGrandma WeeWee

1284. showchoir with Jess & Ayla

Sun 3/10
1285. short night - early drive - church in our HOME CHURCH!
1286. long naps
(which Ayla began in church this morning)

1287. a relaxed evening at home

Mon 3/11
1288. 1st morning thoughts... of God
1289. Ayla's stats from BFF Club tonight... 
11 lbs & 5 oz... 23" 
She'll be 8 weeks old on Wednesday. 
She's simply amazing :)

1290. "Love without action is meaningless and action without love is irrelevant." ~ Deepak Chopra // Pretty sure this was first said by God... just sayin' :)

Tues 3/12
1291. SiriusXM radio - free lifetime subscription with my CAR!!!
Now try quickly saying that 3 times in a row! 
1292. frustrating day at work - yet knowing that GOD is in it!
1293. the LOML cooking dinner for me :)

Wed 3/13
1294. feeling very lazy, unproductive & overly SOCIAL this morning :)
1295. bird feeder wars

1296. having WiFi & getting to hold Ayla while her mom does homework

Thurs 3/14
1297. the hours before work - love them
1298. the hours at work - don't always love them 
but, I always KNOW that God's hand is upon those hours
1299. #tbt
Ahhhh... the memories
of that one in the middle :)

Fri 3/15
1300. Facebook & Twitter friends joining with us in prayer about selling our other house!
1301. getting the house ready for two young people we adore!
1302. Tyler & Kelsey here safely

Sat 3/16
1303. haircuts & photobombs

1304. pajama day

1305. trusting in Him when it seems especially hard to trust anything 

Sun 3/17 St. Patrick's Day
1306. waking up with a baby in the house
1307. Bumbo seats :)

1308. home-made pop corn with REAL butter :)

Mon 3/18
1309. morning writing
1310. college students who sleep in past noon without a care 
- well, for this week, at least :)
1311. Aunt Candice!

Tues 3/19
1312. early drive to work for J & A
cows in the corn - signs of spring :)
1313. Aunt Candice again & again & again :)
1314. on the way to being friends

Wed 3/20
1315. sunrise & promises of the day in Him

1316. trusting that God will guide our Senior Pastor
1317. elementary children
jumping for the flag...
always very entertaining :)
Thurs 3/21
1318. driving by my favorite barn - seems to be losing to the weather these days!

1319. Baby BearCat!

1320. time with Tyler & Kelsey this week!

Fri 3/22
1321. being ready for a trip 16 minutes ahead of schedule
(watch out, this could me the END is near!)

1322. music while riding for 5 hrs in a car = Sabbath for me!
1323. early night due to peace that passes all understanding

Sat 3/23
1324. 6 people in one car having a wonderful time together
1325. a happy for me from Franklin, TN

1326. friendships that cross the miles

Sun 3/24
1327. breakfast with friends who feel like family
1328. safe travels (Nashville, TN to "stuckinindiana" via Cincinnati, OH)
1329. date night w/the LOML (big heart smile!!!)

Mon 3/25
1330. 7-10 inches of snow & not being needed at work
1331. writing while listening to music
1332. snow day & a roast in the crockpot!

Tues 3/26
1333. baby smiles
1334. driving home from work before the sun sets
1335. holding hands &; praying w/the LOML

Wed 3/27
the LOML's birthday
1336. pre-scheduled tweets for the LOML's birthday :)
1337. thinking about the LOML even MORE than usual today!!
1338. Bonge's & celebrating the LOML

Thurs 3/28
Maundy Thursday
1339. Thursday mornings with Ayla
1340. $1 tights at Marshall's = SCORE
1341. relaxed evening w/the LOML

Fri 3/29
Good Friday
1342. pajama day - well, the morning
1343. new songs & videos for Worship Arts note

Sat 3/30
1345. eggs & bacon served to me in bed by the LOML
1346. lots of pruning & yardwork
1347. date night :)

Sun 3/31
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!
1348. wonderful fellowship at church
1349. quick photo shoot in afternoon
1350. celebrating the Little's FIRST EASTER

MARCH 2013 #1000Gifts #JoyDare

MARCH 2013
One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

Resting in the Arms...

Ayla fell asleep in my arms this morning...

... as the fire glowed & gently crackled a few feet away. 

Her entire body relaxed as her little arms stretched out. Her breathing became deep & regular. All expression of emotion melted from her face and, I felt the weight of her tiny head, cradled in my hand, as she slipped into peaceful rest. An inquisitive cat watched from the back of my wing-back chair purring loudly. I drank in the moment & tucked it in my heart for forever. 

It reminded me of how I can always find sweet peace, rest & safety in the arms of God.

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last

Then you look at this prisoner & say to me son,"stop fighting a fight that's already been won."

He's not done with us yet... rest in HIS arms!

Violated Traditions

What makes you feel safe? What brings you comfort? What makes you feel in control? What makes you feel "at home"? For me, I've found comfort often in traditions. And, for me, those traditions are usually pretty relaxed. For instance...
  • I like to celebrate Easter -- but, it has nothing to do with a specific food or meal
  • I like to celebrate Thanksgiving -- but it's fine to do it at a restaurant every once in awhile
  • I like to celebrate Christmas -- but, I don't have to open presents at a certain time for it to still feel like Christmas to me
Memorial Day reminds me of picnics. The Fourth of July reminds me of fireworks - although I still am not fond of the loud BOOM! Father's Day reminds me of buying ties or serving Dad a special breakfast in bed. Mother's Day memories are of planting a seed in a styro-foam cup in April & giving it to Mom just as it was beginning to grow.

What about those "sacred" days that no longer fill us with joy? And, what about when the traditions have been shattered by the death of a loved one or the death of a marriage?
  • The Father's Day for those who may have suffered at the hand of a broken father?
  • The Mother's Day for those whose mom recently passed or who've been unsuccessful for so many years at becoming a mother? 
  • The traditional summer vacation with the friends who were like family but are no longer together & starting their own traditions.
We are all broken...
God makes us whole!
How can we celebrate holidays & continue traditions when life has crashed down upon them... when the memory or someone or something fills us with sadness or pain?

I don't have all the answers to those questions for anyone other than myself. And, for me, over the years, the answers have evolved as I have walked through different seasons in my own life. There's a verse in the Bible says that to "work out your own salvation". I've come to believe that we find the place of celebration or observance of traditions & holidays on our knees, in the presence of the Lord. 

Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today...

18 March 2013

Don't Break Baby Jesus

Whatever you do, don't break Baby Jesus! I audibly spoke those words earlier today.

Since a very young age, I knew I wanted to collect nativity scenes as I grew up. The love for those hasn't waned as the years have gone by. My income has been limited. As we've learned, raising two children & attempting to be a stay-at-home mom is profitable but, not in a financial way :)  

One of my mother-in-law's Nativity sets...
I've collected nativity sets from dollar stores to different countries. Many of the sets could fit in a coffee mug. Others are larger. I've taken hand-me-down nativities. My mom has given me several of hers that I gazed at lovingly as a young child. I've yet to get a large outdoor nativity for our front yard. But, trust me, that's on my wish list! Just after Thanksgiving, I begin unpacking all the nativity sets & placing them all over the house. Sometime in early January, I transition my house from Christmas to SNOW and the sets get packed away into their boxes.

This SPRING as I was packing up the excessive amount of Christmas & winter decorations and transitioning my home to spring decor, I was rushing from one room to another with full hands. All of a sudden, I felt something slip & the words flew out of my mouth, "Whatever you do, don't break baby Jesus!" 

With no thought at all, my mind, my heart & my mouth knew what the most important piece of the nativity was.. the Christ child. From that tiny baby, hope was born into a fallen world. The parents were a part of the story. The wisemen were a part of the story. From the lowly stable to the lofty star, there are so many celebrated parts of the story. The one thing that will remain forever & will make the difference in any life, is the changes brought about that tiny baby.

Be careful in your life to guard your hearts & minds... and by all means, don't break Baby Jesus!

08 March 2013

Birthday Thoughts...

March 8, 2013

While writing a note of birthday greetings on my niece's Facebook wall today...
Ashley, I could write a BOOK about how blessed I am to have you & the other girls for nieces... and Shaney & Kevin for nephews. God has blessed our family with some WONDERFUL young people. May you seek Him more & more each day. Your birthday is being celebrated here on earth & in heaven, as well. We love you!! Uncle B & Aunt C
I was instantly filled with a sense of JOY & thoughts of heaven. Man has not seen nor can comprehend what WONDERFUL things are in store in heaven for those who give their hearts to God here on earth. The thought came to my mind, "I want to die."

I immediately thought, how morose!  But, the truth is that my work here on earth should be completed focused on the prize ahead of me. Showing others the Jesus I know should be my main goal. Bringing others to the saving knowledge of Christ should be my focus.

Yes, I look forward to being in heaven. Yes, I look forward to no more pain, no more heartache, no more sadness, etc. I can't wait to see my father & to meet a sister whom I never met. I long to say thanks to Kate Powell & Hazel Paige Settlemyer & Louise Sain who modeled Godly women for me in my early years. I yearn for hugs & conversations with girlfriends who have become like sisters... and sisters who are dear friends.
Happy Birthday Ashley!

I know that my life here is like a vapor in comparison with eternity. But, I know & I am at peace with what God has for me to do... and for what I may need to endure here on earth... to further the kingdom of God.

Each day brings blessings in the good times, as well as the bad. I am thankful for that. I thank God for placing wonderful people in my life.

Beginnings... Peaceful Rest

I sent a note to a friend today & said "I'd rather be writing..."  

What is it about putting my heart on paper that brings me such joy?

However, truth be told, I have a LOT of things which need to be accomplished today. If those tasks are completed, there won't be any leftover time for writing.

So, here's the BEGINNINGS of the post on my heart now...
Ayla fell asleep in my arms this morning...

... as the fire glowed & gently crackled a few feet away. Her entire body relaxed as her little arms stretched out. Her breathing became deep & regular. All expression of emotion melted from her face. I felt the weight of her tiny head, cradled in my hand, as she slipped into peaceful rest. An inquisitive cat watched from the back of my wing-back chair purring loudly. I drank in the moment & tucked it in my heart for forever. 

Hopefully I will be able to finish my post soon.  Look for it if you are interested in peaceful rest :)

Blessings my friends!

06 March 2013

2013 February ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2013... and I am already to number... 

Today I find JOY in...

Fri 2/01
1172. sitting by the fire w/cherished girlfriends sharing about God's faithfulness and dreaming of the future
1173. mommy kisses

1174. great sunset & end to the day

Sat 2/02
1175. labors of love - detailing car for Jess
1176. car registration in Jessica's name :)
1177. visit with GreatGMBev & GreatGDDale

Sun 2/03
1178. breakfast in bed
1179. working together w/the LOML to get the house ready for a SuperBowl get-together when you could care less who wins
1180. SuperBowl party w/the inlaws :)

Mon 2/04
1181. Kathie Lee & Hoda w/my girls
1182. no price on this happiness:
1183. a new 4-door car... well, a cleaned up OLD 4-door car for the new mommy

Tues 2/05
1184. Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Opus 92 
- while babysitting Ayla when her Mommy was in class :)
1185. taking Ayla for visits w/my friends!
1186. work... is work... but I know God is using my time here at NorthKids!

Wed 2/06
1187. lunch at Olive Garden w/Nikki, Gunner, Michell & the 3 B-girls

1188. Monopoly Money fun

1189. sunsets are the best lately :D

Thur 2/07
1190. inspirational music
1191. great devotionals & the Word of God!
1193. skipping with 15 children = hilarious

Fri 2/08
1194. unconditional love & support from my friends - especially in this season
1195. Moby Wraps & the Indianapolis Museum of Art

1196. Friday night at home w/the LOML and NO PLANS AT ALL :)

Sat 2/09
1197. waking up early & catching up on WRITING!!!
1198. working on a replacement for the fried iTouch

Sun 2/10
1200. church w/mommy & her less than 4wk old baby girl

1201. friendships that last for years!!

1202. claiming beauty - even with some smoldering ashes still around

Mon 2/11
1203. early mornings due to calls & texts from Jess
1204. visitors & then shopping w/the girls

Tues 2/12
1205. babysitting in a Mini Cooper
1206. being Miss Frizzle for NorthKids :)
1207. the Tuesday Scoop

Wed 2/13
1208. robe, fireplace, coffee & lots of pink

1209. Sunny day, curvy roads & Rossini's William Tell Overture make for a FUN drive to work in the Mini Cooper :) Music by @SIRIUSXM :) #BlessingsByGod
1210. a warm, safe home which is a total blessing from God!

Thurs 2/14 -- VALENTINE'S DAY
1211. Valentine's photo shoot

1212. decorating the NorthKids van

1213. unexpected overnight guests

Fri 2/15
1214. coffee & cinnamon toast by the fire
1215. TGIF
1216. late night writing 

Sat 2/16
1217. saving a life
(It feels awesome to save a life, even if it's "only" a little blue & gray birdie. She flew away as soon as I opened the shoebox where she'd been recuperating since Thursday night when she bashed into our window!)
1218. lots of laundry - feels nice to be productive on a Saturday morning
1219. Dowton Abbey evening to get through Season 2

Sun 2/17
1220. 8:30am picking up the girls for church
1221. Sunday afternoon power nap :)
1222. Downton Abbey afternoon & evening

Mon 2/18
1223. NO SCHOOL - so later to work

1224. BFF Club w/Jess & Ayla
(Ayla weighed 10lbs & 1/2oz; 21 1/4" long)
1225. protection for a close one, in what could have been a very bad automobile accident

Tues 2/19
1226. classical music while watching snow fall & hearing the heavy breathing of an infant sleeping
1227. comfort food
1228. LOVE in a chip

Wed 2/20
1229. early morning w/my 2 favorite girls :)

1230. chicken salad w/craisins, toasted pecans & diced celery
1231. hip replacement operation for "Great GrandDaddyDale" w/no complications

Thurs 2/21
1234. blow out diaper

1235. PapaBear

1236. peanut butter toast & milk

Fri 2/22
1237. day off to spend last full day of maternity leave w/Mommy & daughter
1238. a chaise from Hickory, NC; a pillow from Kolh's clearance shelves & a gift from heaven!

1239. early night -- feels awesome!

Sat 2/23
1240. show choir day
1241. Tyler & Kelsey & Layke
1242. a safe drive to/from Ohio

Sun 2/24
1243. breakfast in bed w/the LOML
1244. Oscar party
1245. the looks of love

Mon 2/25
1246. bird watching -- well, from the bedroom
1247. BFF tummy time w/our little overachiever

1248. tons of pics which I can't stop viewing

Tues 2/26
1249. my comfortable lap :)

1250. Downy Woodpecker
1251. a husband who has no problem cooking

Wed 2/27 AYLA 6WKS OLD
1252. walk on a blustery day - before the snow came
1253. muddy horses

1254. going to bed early to make tomorrow come faster

Thurs 2/28
1255. snowy day & a snow flake onsie

1256. listening to guitarist & composer Frédéric Mesnier
1257. busy days

FEBRUARY 2013 #1000Gifts #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...