Monday, October 29, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden"
 (Matthew 14:5)

This was the theme of the blogging conference, Allume that we attended this past weekend.

We made it across the border easily;  the man looked at us as if we were from Mars, and said, "I have no questions; you can't even make that stuff up."  Yes, I was a bit hesitant to attend a conference all about blogging, but I have no regrets!
Although I have many highlights of our weekend, I think the best part was driving 6 hours to and from Pennsylvania with such an awesome friend and spiritual mentor.  Heather and I shared memories that I will cherish forever.  Isn't that what life is sometimes like?  It's those "unimportant" times that are sometimes the most memorable.  It is a time of learning.  It is a time when we can open our hearts to others, glean from others' experiences, and share lots of laughs (unexpected toll booths, roads disappearing from the fog and on the GPS)!  I am so blessed to have such experiences.

Other highlights from our blogging conference and other things that I learned include:
-being reminded that we are all lights in the world
-to be myself; to be honest
-it could just be "one" that is affected by my blog, and that's all that matters
-be mindful of the moment
-write what you are passionate about
-I am only a hobby blogger, and I'm ok with that!
-"I don't need credentials, God has those" (from Kat Lee, Inspired to Action)
-pray, pray, pray
-listen to God's calling
-amazing key note speakers
-listening to other bloggers open their hearts as they shared their stories
and much, much more!!!

One other thing that I learned is how much I LOVE my family!!!  I became homesick pretty quickly!

Continuing to give thanks...
-my best friend, and awesome hubby who wins Husband of the Year award again as he took care of the children all weekend
-my family ( I love them so much and missed them like crazy)
-safe travels
-being at a conference with over 300 other Christian women
-learning so much from so many other Christian bloggers

-my amazing friend Heather
-having lots of laughs with our addiction to the smile booth
-meeting other fellow Canadian bloggers

-so many free books
-Ann, a humble, passionate, inspiring Christian blogger/ speaker
-hearing her story, her deep love for her Saviour, and feeling her emotions with her

-her honesty
-Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales)'s story of pride and humility and God working through all of his   life (and ours)
-his humour
-his honesty and openness

-Logan Wofram making boring announcements very humorous!
-allowing us to hear her story and share her sorrows

-supportive husbands and gleaning from the marriage panel

-enjoying fresh air and exploring parts of the city

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" 
(Hebrews 6:12). 

She imitates everything her big brothers do.
She copies what her sister says.
She repeats things that I have said.
She recites lines from her favourite movies.
She sings parts of her favourite songs.
She says parts of the Lord's Prayer at dinner with the rest of her family.

We all imitate someone to some degree.  We are influenced by what we see and by what we hear.  That's why it is so important to be diligent with what we put into our minds, whether it be through music, movies, or the people that we spend time with.

I am thankful for those who lead lives of example through their faith and patience.  I pray that I will be able to imitate those people and also be an example to others.

Continuing to give thanks...

-for the couple who continues to praise God through the storm with their little boy in the hospital
-for their faith and testimony
-our parents and other individuals who are godly examples
-a husband who is patient with children and their homework and a daughter who takes forever to eat her meals
-his generous spirit and the time he spent with his two girls on the walk a thon
-visiting with another adoptive mom; sharing that common bond
-my Sunday School helper, errand runner, awesome babysitter, responsible son
-summer weather
-growing leaf piles to jump in

-her beautiful, unique hair

-growing independence with school work

-mess free painting

-a puzzle obsession
-siblings who will puzzle with her

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
 (Psalm 119:130)
We dig.
We plant.
We turn the soil.
We tend the garden.
But, what about our spiritual growth?
I don't dig enough.
I need to turn the soil.
I need to cultivate.
I need to dig more into God's Word.
His Word gives "light and understanding".

Continuing to give thanks...

-God's Word and the light that it sheds on our lives
-digging into His Word in church
-digging into His Word in Bible study
-the "visible" church
-successful movie fundraiser event

-planting helpers
-planting new trees
-a baby tree-a gift from his class trip to Connon Nurseries
-such care and precision
-a proud tree planter

-digging a hole for our time capsule

-excitement about finally burying our time capsule (inspired from an event at school last year as they celebrated 50 years of God's faithfulness)
-God's faithfulness in our family

-enough rakes for everyone!
-everyone spending time outside

-Paul's own special "rake"
-getting lots of yard work done
-preparing for the next season

-frolicking in the leaves

-how their smiles make us smile

-everyone's excitement to play in the leaf pile

-leaves in the hair, in the jackets, etc.
-God's beautiful display of colour

-eager to enter things at the fair (and winning multiple ribbons and some cash too)!

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances..."
 (Philippians 4:11)
We are all on different journeys, different paths and different walks of life.

When on difficult paths, or even our common, every day walk, our natural tendency is discontentment. '

As our pastor said, every circumstance can be a threat to contentment.

Our pastor also spoke of the apostle Paul's secret for contentment whatever the circumstances may be.

What's the secret?  Living in Christ and trusting in His providence.

What is providence?  As it says in the Heidelberg Catechism...
"Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which He upholds, as with His hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty- all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His Fatherly hand."

The apostle Paul "learned" to be content.  It is a process that is done by a growing relationship with our Father and by meditating on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I pray that I too can "learn to be content whatever the circumstances".

Continuing to give thanks (and cultivate contentment)...

-His providential care
-the letters written by the apostle Paul
-our pastor and his passion for preaching the Gospel
-friends who came to church and continue to praise God during their storm in life with their baby boy in the hospital
-receiving a bit of good news regarding baby Caleb's progress
-being ministered by music from our Jamaican brothers

-Deborah enjoying her freedom to run

-every tree, unique and beautiful

-so many beautiful colours, right outside my front door

-healthy, energetic, devoted couple

-sharing in her excitement

-how he patiently leads her to the next ride

-another fear conquered

-how he is always a good sport

-family fun day; enjoying our P.D. day

-a love for ALL animals
-her new favourite animal

-Deborah's favourite animal

-her joy while watching the show (and imitating the animals)

-pure, innocent fun

-Thanksgiving meal time with family

-sisters; so much in common

-so much food
-families to share our food with
-special friends from church who also joined us for Thanksgiving dinner
-lots of laughs; lots of noise (my family); lots of fun!