They Are Messy

Everyone who has been in relationship knows it to be true. It isn't a secret. Relationships are messy. And family relationships can be the messiest of all.

Thankfully, God, in His loving kindness and grace, has provided examples of relationships for us to follow in the Bible. In scripture we see Jesus knows exactly how messy family can be. His family didn't always understand his calling, and his friends denied they even knew him. One of them betrayed him for the price of a slave! Yes, our lord understands messy.

In spite of the mess, one of those same brothers who didn't "get it" when Jesus lived on earth ended up writing a book in the Bible. Messy doesn't have to remain a mess. God can turn our messes into messages of life, hope, and goodness. Times of testing can be transformed into glorious testimonies of loving forgiveness.

No matter where you or I am in our relationships, Abba God has everything under control. He is bringing all of us into His likeness. Together, in our messes, we are being transformed into a rich, rare, and beautiful treasure.

In the middle of messy,
Abundantly Blessed


Summer Reads

Hi! What a long time it has been since we've visited! I am thankful to be here on our special bench visiting today. Do you think the rain will soak us before our visit is through? As long as it is the rain of the Holy Spirit from Heaven everything will be fine.

I can't begin to tell you how many conversations with you I have begun in my mind throughout the past few months. They are simply too numerous to tell. Most frequently I wanted to tell you about the latest books I have been reading. The visits where we share what we are reading with each other seem to be the most thoroughly enjoyed. Because I have been reading some of the books for a very long time, there may be titles you recognize from other visits. There are definitely some new ones you simply musn't miss though so I will risk repeating myself.

  • The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp *
  • Rivers of Grace by Mark and Patti Virkler
  • Revolution in the Church: Challenging the Religious System with a Call for Radical Change by Michael L. Brown
  • The Book of Romance: What Solomon Says about Love, Sex, and Intimacy by Tommy Nelson
  • A Family Shaped by Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most by Gary Morland *
  • The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson
  • Jane Austen by Peter Leithart
  • Proverbs by Eugene H. Peterson
  • The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson *
  • If Only I Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado
  • The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village by Francis Chan
  • The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado
  • When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
  • The WouldBeGoods by Edith Nesbit *
* a personal favorite 

All of these reads, except Jane Austen, have been pure pleasure to read. Each one has provided exactly the morsel needed to chew on at the precise moment nourishment was needed. I am finding the book about Jane Austen informative but boring. I don't know if I have ever written such a word as boring in a book review before. Not certain I like doing so now, but it can't be helped. I do find the book a truly boring read. Perhaps it is the author's tone, which seems to drone on and on or perhaps it is the uninteresting manner the facts are relayed. All I know is it holds my interest not one little bit, even if it is about Jane Austen. I do find myself wanting to put on a pot of tea when reading though. So that is one good thing about it. 

Speaking of tea, The book by Sally and Sarah Clarkson listed above has been like a soothing balm to my weary soul. I find myself wanting to get lost in the writing while also wanting to pop up and prepare tea or create a dress up trunk for my children. To say the Clarksons speak my heart's language would be an understatement. Not only do these godly women speak with gentleness and love, they also write truth sharing how the every day practical is intended to be infused with the supernatural of God Who is Love. It is encouraging, challenging, and soothing all at once. 

As with most summers, the Easy Homeschooling series by Lorraine Curry and the books on a Thomas Jefferson style leadership education are being scoured for educational gold and teacher's encouragement. Our hearts' desire is for our learning to be strengthened each year. I also possess high hopes for giving Never Too Early by Doreen Claggett another go. Count has been lost of how many times that book's pages have crossed my eyes.

No matter how much I enjoy other reading material, my favorite read of all time is, and always will be, the Bible. Someday, someway, somehow I hope to share the miraculous ways the Bible has led, taught, and revealed truth to each one of our family. For now, know that I have saved the best of the reading list for last. God's Word. The Bible. What have you been reading lately? Are your spirit, soul, and body being challenged, led, and strengthened? Is there a particular read that has brought supernatural soothing to your soul? Please, do tell us! We'd love to hear from you!

Reading to the glory of God,
Abundantly Blessed 


HUGE Giveaway!!!

Hi! I rarely talk about homeschooling because not many of our readers homeschool. However, because there is a SUPER HUGE Giveaway taking place tomorrow,  I simply have to share. Just in case someone reading is a homeschooler or knows someone who could benefit from these resources.

The giveaway is one day only, tomorrow April 25 9am - 9pm CST. It is at notebookingpages.com. Not only are Lifetime Memberships being given away and/or offered at greatly reduced prices, but many free resources from other companies are included in the various giveaway pacakages as well. One of the packages is valued at $800! This is a giveaway notebooking homeschoolers, or those who know them, don't want to miss.

Those of you who do not homeschool or notebook please pass the word on to any and every one you know who does. Everyone who enters will receive a free sample of various notebooking pages offered by notebookingpages.com. Any individuals who practice the art of keeping a journal could also put a number of these pages to use.

Just to clarify, notebooking is a method of recording what a person/student is learning. Basically, notebooking is journaling and/or scrapbooking what you are studying. It is a method of study that has been proven to increase a student's retention of knowledge and allow them "ownership" of their education. It also provides each student with the opportunity to freely express their unique creativity.

Our students and I are newcomers to the world of notebooking, yet we are looking forward to filling many notebooks with pages full of everything we are learning. Giggles thoroughly enjoys creating notebook pages to fill with the facts and and information she learns; Mighty Man of God prefers putting the web-app to good use and create pages using creative technology rather than hand drawn images.

Don't forget the giveaway tomorrow at notebookingpages.com,
Abundantly Blessed


Simply Done Food

What a lovely spring morning for a visit with a friend!  One of the most life changing lessons I have been learning this past year is how meaningful and healing simple things can be. Too often throughout the years I have mistakenly felt special gifts and occasions must be complicated and over-the-top in order to be special. God has been gently teaching me this simply is not so. While preparing to enter the restful rhythm of Sabbath, a couple of simply easy recipes came to mind. You came to mind at the same time; thinking of you made me hungry for a lovely spring's morning visit together. These recipes have been shared before, but good things bear repeating.

English Muffin Bread
Lemon Curd

As you sit with a cup of  your favorite beverage, savoring a piece of freshly toasted English Muffin bread smothered in fresh lemon curd, may the presence of Jehovah Shalom, God our Peace, permeate the very atmosphere of your home. May He begin from within you spilling Himself out of your heart into whatever place you are. Even if you don't make the bread or lemon curd, may He still fill wherever you are with Himself, for wherever the Spirit of the Lord is we can find rest.

May a Sabbath of resting in Him be yours,
Abundantly Blessed


The Bible is Encouraging

The following words were especially encouraging to me this morning. Perhaps they will be for you as well. God's Word is alive and active. May the power of The Word wash over you, strengthen, soothe, and fill you with an increased knowledge of Who He is as you read them.

"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6

Zerubbabel was responsible for rebuilding the temple without trusting in man for resources. As I read this earlier I was struck with the similarity between Zerubbabel's situation and mine as a mother. I am responsible for building foundations of Truth in the temples of God a.k.a. my children. Just as Zerubbabel relied on God for the resources needed so too I can rely on Him for what is needed in building in the lives of my family.

"If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey." Numbers 14:8

The Lord will bring and give. Not me. Not my knowledge. Not my strength. The Lord will do what needs to be done. A timely reminder on this Monday morning.

"For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them." Psalm 44:3

Another reminder that it is not me. It is God. He will not only save but He will keep.

"We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith's perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was filled with the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 The Passion Translation

He endured for me. The ultimate love story I never tire of hearing. Nothing wrong with Hallmark love stories on TV, but those stories can't hold a candle to truth. There never has been and never will be a greater, more romantic lover than God. For love He gave.

"I pray with great faith for you, because I'm fully convinced that the One who began this glorious expression of grace in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you through your union with him and will complete it at the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Philippians 1:6 The Passion Translation

God won't leave me. He won't quit. He will finish what He has begun in me. Hallelujah! I will be completed in Him! And did you see? Did you see that not only will He faithfully continue the process of maturing me, but that the maturing process is referred to as a "glorious expression of grace"? Becoming mature is not only intended to be a process, that process is an expression of grace. I don't have some weird defect nor am I lacking something necessary because it is taking time for me to mature. Maturing in Christ is meant to be a process rather than a one time event. And that phrase, an "expression of grace"... Doesn't that phrase bathe your mind in beauty?

As you travel through the day, may these words of truth from Truth cause you to be infused with the strength of the Lord throughout your entire being.

From one expression of grace to another,
Abundantly Blessed


I Know the One Who Does

There is a lot I don't know, but I know the One who knows everything. The One who knows everything? He knows me. I'm so very very very very glad He knows me. I was already keenly aware of how precious little I knew, but the past several months have revealed how little that precious little really is.

It is my prayer that the following reading encourages and strengthens your hope. http://www.equipandempower.org/neutrino/ems02/email.php?email=8e3199061cfb11e7b490&template=76a78936baa011e39830

Abundantly Blessed in Jesus


Jesus Is The Same

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I am not. I am not the same at all. As a matter of fact, I am not the same person I was a few weeks ago.

Several months ago in the fall, one of our older children moved out on their own. Change, an exciting change as we witnessed God's abundant provision for our child firsthand. Then, life got real, said child got tired and bored, and more changes began occurring. As parents there was one major recourse and that was prayer. Pray, pray, pray, and pray some more. We did.

 Christmas came then went. A new year came and went. Weeks passed with our family knowing something wasn't "right" but not being able to find out what was "wrong". A few months passed. Now instead of watching God's mighty hand of provision and victory working in our child's life we were watching a downward spiral that would have terrified us had we not been trusting in the Lord.

One day an explosion rent our hearts. The explosion that hit our hearts with the ferocity of a tsunami arrived in the quiet form of an email note. "Dear Papa and Mama..." the brief email began. As the words of that tiny announcement paraded before my eyes, my heart was screaming "Oh no, no, no. Please God let this be one of those ridiculous joke emails. Please, God, no. no. no. no."

 No matter how much I wanted it to be a warped joke, it was real. The words were true. One of our beloved children had made major life decisions contrary to the truth of God and His ways. Not only had our child left the foundation of truth laid for them, but they had also chosen a life filled with potential danger and abuse.

It is amazing how almost everything changed for me after that email. Very little remains the same. One thing does remain. God and His Word. God is good. God is faithful. God is glorious. God is love. God is true. God is real. God remains. God saves. God keeps. God satisfies. God heals. God restores. God is. In the middle of the pain, God is. God always has been, always is, and always will be. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit never change, never leave, never loose their hold on me. God is.

Over a month later, our child has now been rescued by God's miraculous grace and mercy. Our child is safe at home learning what it means to live free and whole in Jesus.  And mama? Mama is not the same. Mama is changed. Mama is more grateful to God than words can tell for how He has rescued and delivered her child from darkness. I am giving God thanks in advance for His continued working in all of my children's lives. God restores, redeems, and makes new. Mama is blessed. Abundantly so.

Abundantly Blessed