True North

Who am I running after? A great question to honestly ask and answer. In this season of expectant waiting who am I chasing? Who is my heart longing for most? Join me in checking to make sure my life's compass is set true? Here we go. http://www.elijahlist.com/words/html/textonly-121917-Alexander.html

Christmas love,
Abundantly Blessed


What Mama Wants

It looks like Santa's workshop on the kitchen counter again. Colored paper, baker's twine, glue, pens, and scissors have found a temporary home in a kitchen drawer so they are easy to grab and use. I would leave them out on the counter but somehow they don't look as cute as usual next to all of our mugs. Our mugs are hanging out on the counter because the pegs that hold up their shelf broke, and well, at least they survived the fall.

Anyway, as I was pondering how to fix the mug shelf without any spare pegs hanging around the tool drawer it came to me that the mugs don't look awful on the counter. They merely look awful to me. There is sufficient counter space for them to wait there a few days longer. I just don't want them on the counter any more. That is the only problem: mama isn't getting what she wants. Ugh. I hate it when I'm selfish.

Thankfully, the mug thing isn't a major mess, and I quickly adjust my attitude. The rest of my day goes along fine; nothing negatively affected. I can't help but wonder though how many other insignificant things I don't like could be eliminated by a small adjustment to my attitude. Are there any situations that are negatively affected simply because mama doesn't like what is going on?  Maybe this Christmas, mama needs to put the gift of less of what she wants and likes under the tree so that more of God and His love can shine out.

Pondering more on the Giver and the Greatest Gift and less on me,
Abundantly Blessed


God's Gentle Warning

Imagine we are sitting in cozy chairs with cups of something warm and soothing in front of a crackling fire. We're talking about a little bit of everything and how we need to be in prayer concerning all that is taking place around us in the world. One of us sighs and shakes our head at the state of affairs, and then, God shows up. Of course He is with us all along, but we become aware of Him more. As we rest in His loving presence we begin to see how things used to be many years ago. All of sudden we realize that things are much better than they used to be. That both of us are more like Jesus than we were all those years past.

Before we know what has happened we are remembering memory after memory and seeing how differently both people and circumstances are now, for the better. Very little is actually worse than it used to be. Wayward loved ones have come home to the fold of the Good Shepherd; children have grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Circumstances are more abundant than they used to be too. There was a time, back in the day, when one of us was purchasing groceries with assistance vouchers and credit cards. Our checkbooks might not have more money in them than they did then, but somehow, dare we say miraculously, there is more money left after bills than there used to be, and we have more children now than then. Groceries cost more now too.

Speaking of children we quickly realize that these rare and beautiful treasures from heaven have all come during the seasons we needed them most. They are part of the exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask, think, dream, or even imagine. Granted, parenting has been hard. Way hard, but this too comes under Truth's influence and we see that even in this most difficult area, God has been faithful and true to His Word. All of our children profess to have relationships with God, and His love can be regularly seen in our families every day. Our parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and most all of our aunts, uncles, and cousins are also brothers and sisters in Christ. Broken relationships with extended family members has been or is in the process of being restored. Together we are almost all loving and living God, on both sides of our families!

Parents may be aging. Children are growing up and learning to walk by faith for themselves, sometimes a painful process for families to watch and live through. Bodies get older. Hair turns white or falls out. Eyes need bifocals. Daily living still contains the hardest of the hard, yet through it all there is a sweetness that is amazingly good. Right in the middle of the terrifying, the threatening, the potentially awful, everything is good. Honestly, truly, good. Our rewards love Jesus and each other, our families are knit together in the love of God, God loves us, and our daily needs are perfectly met. Everything that matters most is good. Very good.

And this is where God lovingly looks us in the eye and gently reminds us to be alert, be aware, because, if we are not extremely careful, the enemy will attempt to distract us from God's goodness. Not wanting us to give thanks for all of God's mighty works, that enemy, the devil, is doing everything he can to make us think everything is awful, scary, terrifying, and completely falling apart when all along God in His goodness is still making all things new. God is still healing, cleansing, restoring, renewing. His mercies and loving kindness are still new every morning. He is God; He changes not.

It is a fact that loved ones don't always choose Jesus. People still get sick. Heartache tears at us ferociously. Countries fight. Really bad things happen to really good people. None of these facts alters or changes truth, but truth changes fact. His Words from John 16:33 ring like a clarion call in our hearts, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In this world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of its power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"

With the words of the Father ringing through our innermost beings we stare at each other in awed silence. Together we slip to our knees using our chairs as improvised altars. With tears of thanksgiving flowing from our eyes we pour our hearts out in the Father's presence, his love washing over us in a healing, soothing flood.  Even God's warning is saturated with extravagant love. Our hearts now refreshed we are able to see truth is greater than the facts slamming out from the world around us.  No matter how circumstances appear, God is good, and Truth always wins.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Prov. 3:5,6

Emotional Preparation, Being Intentional

Hey There! As I feast on the Bread of Life, the Bible, the Holy Spirit continues to teach me and draw me further in. A bite here, a snippet there, and more and more truth is growing everywhere. This morning another bit came to me that seemed to fit in with our journey towards wholeness perfectly. So here it is: Emotional preparedness.

An important part of emotional health is learning to recognize seasonal patterns of thought and desire which lead to behaviors that can be dangerous or foolish at best. Don't consider foolish behavior that big of a deal? Think that obeying God and/or those He sends to instruct us isn't as important as our parents make it out to be? Perhaps a trip through the book of Proverbs and the rest of the Bible will be an enlightening read. Recognizing these seasonal patterns and deliberate choosing godly ways of walking through them can be intentionally determined in advance, before they are needed.

May none of us get caught in the snare of the enemy and fail to take God and His instructions seriously. May we follow God's wisdom as we learn to be alert and aware of the emotional weaknesses everyone faces.


Proverbs 22: 3 - "A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering]. "

"Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside). [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God] For whatever a man sows that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful and profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God's family with you, the believers]." Galatians 6:7-9

Galatians 5:25 - "If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]"


A God Mama Will Fight!

Today's post varies from the norm. Recently while praying, I opened my journal to receive from the Lord, and the following is the result. I pray it goes forth in the name of the Lord accomplishing His will. Be encouraged. A God Mama will fight~

A restless lioness roams the night watches. One of her cubs is outside the safety of the pride's territory. At the break of dawn, she still looks about, restless with concern for her cub...

There had been a seriousness about the King's features for a number of weeks now. This morning his manner is even more so. His care and love for His own never wavers or lessens. If anything, the time spent with His most faithful and devoted warriors is more lengthy and sweeter. Yet there is a concern, and all who serve Him know it. They can sense it in their spirits. The King is yearning for part of His bride.

One of His treasured warriors has been spending less time at His feet and gradually bit by bit been spending more of her days with someone else. She is giving significant time to one who does not serve Him, and the King misses her. Part of Himself is missing. He wooed her and tenderly whispered her name on the morning breeze. He caressed her face with the last rays of evening yet she hurried to her mortal-made device to further relations with the one who serves Him not brushing the King's loving touch aside in her haste.

Her comrades in arms, those faithful few who have been assigned to serve the King with her have been prayerfully reporting their concerns to their Lord. Not wanting to compromise the bond of peace Redeemer King jointed them with, their inquiries of her have been few. The sadness that fills them when their beloved comrade answers falsely is great. Apparently she has forgotten how much the King loves truth. He is truth. To answer falsely is to reject Him, the One she claims to love and serve.

One seasoned warrior flies into an impassioned display of emotional pain. Was this same comrade not the one whom the King valiantly rescued from the forces and wounds of the dark so recently? Has she so quickly forgotten all the King has done for her? The terror He brought her out of? Before the veterans emotions tear peace's bond further, the King places His hand on her shoulder. Instantly the warrior recognizes her Lord lover. Every fiber of her being trembles with desire to be alone with Him, the One her soul loves. Only He can make sense of her heart's pain. The warrior bride has to get away with the King! His touch drives away the turmoil of pain and fear. Nothing and no one calms her inner storm like the King. And yet...

...as much as the warrior longs for intimacy with the King, there are struggles attempting to distract her, to draw her back to the places she roamed before she knew her Beloved King. The wail of the lonely deserted night beckons with a ferociousness that pulls at her memories strong. How much easier it was to let loose ungodly emotions caring only for her own relief and no others'. There was a time it was only her. No comrades or beloved companions to consider or guide. No King to love and serve save herself. Of course that was a long time ago. Many years have gone by since those days. Fighting to be free, battle worn, the warrior bride forgets the loneliness, the bondage, the abuse of those faraway years without the King.

A sudden dash of clarity wakes the warrior with start. "Wait! What am I doing? I don't want to go back! I do not wish to return to death!!!" Running, the weary one is crushed close in the arms of the King. The beating of His heart is the only sound to be heard. Soon, sleepy in her Lover's embrace, the veteran warrior feels her insides relax as turmoil and despair are driven away by the presence of the King. At once the storm is calmed, the bond of peace fully in place.

Her comrade in danger still, the warrior in her Savior King's love, with heavenly fire blazing from her heart and eyes, now gazes into the night. Seeing what her comrade cannot, the King's warrior stares strong. These words she speaks soft but sure, "I am a God Mama, and this is what a God Mama does. A God mama is given Heavenly rewards, and over these rewards she fights. She gets on her knees, she takes up her Sword, she slices through lies of dark. A God Mama fights, and God Her Source keeps the rewards He has given." "My rewards belong to the King. To the King I have taught them to be true, as my God Mama taught me. As I have followed my God Mama, so too my rewards will follow me straight into the heart of the King. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords reigns supreme! To Him our knees we bow. To Him our praises sing."

These words of the seasoned warrior mother are softly spoken yet their strength rings loud through the dark of night. Like a clarion call, the King's love saturating them shines like a blazing torch of truth. Demons of deception scurry in terror of the God Mama's voice. All of darkness' kingdom knows God Mamas are best kept dull, calm, undisturbed. For if a God Mama gets disturbed, a God Mama will fight. Fight and win in the Love of God.

Alarms are going off! Forces are running for cover. "A God Mama is at war, and she is mad! Run! We've been spotted! We've been caught! Run!" the dark forces and their imps scream as they run. Confusion and chaos rule the scrambling workers of evil. Experience orders their fear. They know the damage a God Mama at war will do. It is like nothing else known, this love fight a mother of God wars over her children, her heavenly rewards, when they are in danger. There will be no prisoners taken. Total destruction of darkness will occur.

With the roar that only a lioness of Judah can release, the atmosphere of heaven and earth reverberates with this God Mama's words, "In the name of Jesus LET MY CHILD GO! LEAVE HER ALONE! She is covered with the blood of Jesus! She is the fruit of my womb! I am a covenant child of God, and according to this covenant made by the blood of Jesus, the fruit of my womb is blessed, protected, and kept! Forces of Darkness, you are trespassing on covenant property. In the name of Jesus, get away from my child, NOW! Be gone in Jesus' name!"

As the God Mama continues to pray and speak and decree the Word of Truth over her child, strength rises and overflows from within until she has not only prayed for and covered one of her children but all of them and not only her children but all the children in the world! Yes, a God Mama will fight. Heavenly language pours from her lips in an unstoppable flood. Oh how the forces of darkness regret awakening this God Mama. One too many times her child has been messed with. The Lion of Judah within her is roaring with the most terrifying of all roars, the roar of a Mama saying "Enough is Enough!"

As the intensity gives way to the release of peace, the Mama warrior smiles. Her day will contain continued prayers, but peace of heart has been restored. Her heart is at peace. Whether the physical evidence says so or not, she knows her comrade is covered in the blood of Jesus and will return to her King. A seasoned God warrior knows victory is won before it is seen. God the King has spoken. Victory is sure. The warrior rejoins her comrades full of the King.

"King of Kings and Lord of Lords Glory, Hallelujah!"

...The lioness purrs content. Her cub safe in the Lion of Judah's pride.

Piece by Piece

As I journey through this adventure towards wholeness of body, soul, and spirit, I find myself in circumstances that push me straight into the arms of God. What do I do now? God knows. So I look in His word to find out what He says to do. What does a Christian think about this? What does God think about that? Is this what God thinks or is it my personal opinion? Into God's Word, the Bible, I go again and again, further and further, until it is only He, me, and His Word. It is there I find solace, inspiration, and the answers for which I search. The answers I find are rarely new. Most of them are verses I learned years and years ago. It seems as if my life right now is one big jigsaw puzzle that God is putting together using bits and pieces from here and there throughout the years. It is difficult at times yet rather fun to experience as well.

So far through the searching and study I have discovered God to be even more gracious, more lovingly extravagant in His affections, and more wondrous than I ever knew. The deeper I study and search His Word, the less appealing I find other sources of wisdom. The more I get to know Him, the more I want to know. The closer I walk in His ways of doing and being right, the less enticing other ways are. The more of His kindness I experience, the more kind I want to be. I want to pass on Him and His ways.

Before I share a mini word study, I want to share something God did for me recently. Last Sunday I was heavily burdened about something and seeking God for answers concerning a situation. I was trying to pray in faith, but just kept ending up crying and asking why instead. Now I know that asking why is not obedient to Proverbs 3:5,6 so I kept repeating those verses over and over and well, basically I was still one big ugly-crying mess of a mama. I finally told God I wanted to have faith and I was trying to lean on Him, but I really needed an answer on this. Could He please give me something? Anything? Quietly I felt a scripture reference impressed on me and looked it up. The words I read poured over my raw emotions like a healing salve. "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." Philippians 4:6

I wish I could tell you I immediately began walking in perfect faith and went on my merry way refreshed, but I didn't. I was still crying; this time though it was in relief and wonder instead of intense sorrow and frustration. The grief and sorrow over the situation still cut deep, but there is a deep settled peace in my soul that God heard my cries and when I asked, He answered. He didn't cut me down or chew me out about having little faith. He heard my cry for help, and He told me not to fret. So, I did what He said.  I prayed, petitioned, and let Him know my definite requests. The situation hasn't changed, but I am personally at peace with God. No matter what is or is not going on God hears and answers me. He loves and cares for me, and that is enough. God loves me, and I love Him. My relationship with Him is not only alive and well but growing deeper and deeper every day. Every day I search through His Word, I am searching through Him who is the Word. I am gorging myself on the Bread of Life and in the doing am personally being transformed.

The following mini word study comes from something I found while studying one morning. It was in a book that used to belong to my mom. It is a unit study on the family by Chuck Swindoll. What I am sharing today is not plagiarism or any form of copyright infringement. I am simply sharing definitions and scriptures. Not all of the scriptures come from the same study either so no laws are being broken in the sharing. Just clarifying to put minds at ease.

Discretion is the word that caught my attention. Discretion means "to taste" as in someone who has discriminating tastes. Possessing the ability to choose between the tasteful and the tasteless, the appropriate and the inappropriate, or right and wrong is having discretion. Discretion is something parents want their children to have and use. I enjoy having specific words and scriptures to pray over my children. You can't imagine how thrilled I was to learn that discretion is exactly what I have recently been praying my children will all come to possess. Now I have an exact word to use! God's timing is perfect!

The following are a few scriptures containing the word discretion. These verses show the importance of possessing discretion. Proverbs 11:22 especially reveals why I am praying for my daughters to get and use discretion.

Proverbs 1:4
Proverbs 2:11
Proverbs 3:21
Proverbs 8:12
Proverbs 11:22

Back to last Sunday. Wondering what happens if a person obeys the verse God impressed upon me last Sunday? The verses immediately following tell. Here is what happens to the person who does not fret or have any anxiety about anything and prays making their definite requests known to God:

"And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you." Philippians 4:7-9

Can you use some of that peace? How does an untroubled, undisturbed well-being sound to you? Rather amazing, huh? More of God's amazing grace in action.

Love and hugs as we don't fret or have anxiety,


Just Popping in for a Bit!

Okay. The afternoon is slipping away faster than I had hoped it would. So I'll be brief. I hope. Ordinarily I would save all of this for a future post, but somehow, it seems necessary this afternoon. I'm even waiting to turn the tea kettle on for this. That ought to say something.

First off. Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse posted the Fall Tour of her lovely home. If you love sweet homey decor and sentiment, the tour will be right up your alley.

Next. With school once again in full swing menu planning can be a lifesaver, not to mention save some money in the grocery budget. Mel at Mel's Kitchen has provided a super helpful tool on her website here. Now don't be fooled into thinking only those with school kiddos need this tool. Read through the entire post. There are helpful tools for all who need to get meals on the table. You might come to love these. I might come to love them too.

And lastly, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening at sundown. This is seen as the holiest day of the year by Jews and is a time of fasting and repentance. It is sometimes referred to as "The Shabbat of Shabbats". There are some fantastic online resources sharing more information and details about this holy day that would be a huge blessing to anyone wishing to search them out. The research the school children and I did yesterday uncovered facts and details that have greatly enriched my study of keeping the Sabbath holy.

One of these days I am going to start sharing what I have learned about Sabbath, but until that time, a personal study would be well worth your while. There are a number of books devoted to the topic. Shelly Miller's book on Sabbath is on my wish list for Christmas. Details can be found at her website.

If ever believers in Jesus needed to learn about the purpose of God establishing the Sabbath, now would be one such time. Just remember, man is not for the Sabbath; the Sabbath is for men (Mark 2:27) Also, for those who might come from a background with little to no knowledge of Judaism or the Hebrew language, Sabbath is the same as Shabbat. Just a little tidbit that might save you some wondering.

May your fast and Shabbat be exactly what God desires it to be,
Abundantly Blessed


Wholeness Can Be Practical

Not every part of our journey towards wholeness will seem monumental. Each step will strengthen our spirit or soul. Some steps will be purely practical ones while others will find us on our faces before God. This week I have been discovering ways practical little things make a HUGE difference in the future of my family. While sorting through totes of memories, two things stick out most. ONE: Seven children create a LOT of paper memories. TWO: Writing names on children's paper memories will make sorting at a later date MUCH easier. With those two things shared, let's move on to the other things I learned while sorting.

Please be advised: if you are a mother who diligently organizes her children's memories in "proper" organizational containers, this post will have absolutely no relevance for you what so ever. However, if you are, or have been, a very busy mother who feels like supermom because she managed to keep the memories at all and better still actually got them stored in a container of any kind rather than remaining in a crazy stack on the floor or stuffed in drawers around the house, then read on.

  • When deciding whether or not to hold on to a child's art or school work, DO NOT listen to your child. Make the decision FOR YOURSELF. Children will be grateful you did this when they get older. Maybe. Some of your children might anyway. When children are approx. between the ages of 12 and 25 it is common for them to show disdain for anything from their childhood. They are confident they will never want to look at drawings or other memories from when they were little. They may even attempt to sneak their school papers away from you into the trash. Persevere dear mama and dig that writing journal out of the garbage can. Hide it if necessary. If you enjoy reading it, your child will too someday. If they don't, oh well, you still will. Their grandmothers will sympathize with you in this. Grandfathers may not. Yes, it does appear to have something to do with gender. Not judging, just stating my observations.
  • Don't forget to save little notes they have written. These are my favorite pieces of memories from my children's childhood. They wrote me such sweetly funny little notes. I laugh and/or cry with delight just as much now as I did when they wrote them 10-18 years ago. I want to keep memories from all parts of their lives not just school and holidays.
  • If your child's teacher does not keep a portfolio of their work and pictures from the school year, consider creating one yourself. Portfolios enable paperwork, art, and mementos to be kept and stored easily without being fussy or labor intensive for the parent. Inexpensive plastic binders are excellent for this purpose. Page protectors can be used for small items. Another option would be to have a hanging file folder box for each child and place items from each year in a separate file folder. The outside of the folder could be labeled with the date and a picture of the child from that year. 
  • Label and date every piece you choose to keep. This is an absolute must if you will be sorting through items at a later date. Trust me on this. You WILL NOT remember which child had which handwriting in 5, 7, or 10 years. 

Here is what I wish I had done throughout my children's school years:

  • I wish I had stored each child's memories separately. Even if I had stored them in separate plastic bins to sift through later, having each child's things separated from the others would have streamlined the process immensely.
  • I wish I had realized that future convenience would be more important in the long run than being frugal was at that moment. Placing my children's memories in hanging file folders, binders, or actual storage boxes instead of the way I did store them would have saved me hours at a future date. I excused my lack of organizing by looking at the future with the confident swagger of a twenty-something mama who hasn't yet learned how much she does not yet know. When my oldest four children were young, and I began storing memories of their lives, I envisioned the time following their high school graduations as a time when I would have an empty home and my days once filled with children would now contain endless hours tailored made for sorting through memories. Not only would I have endless hours to fill however I liked, but I would finally be able to get out all of the unused scrapbooks and supplies and put them to use. Oh how glorious and perfect those future scrapbooks appeared in my visions of the future. AND, because I would be facing the horrors of an empty nest after years of child-rearing, all of the sorting and organizing would be therapeutic for me. I could look at all of the memories, read their sweet little notes, and cry without anyone around to laugh at me, or join in. HA! Reality looks much different. With two elementary aged children, one preschooler, and their four older siblings at home, I now fervently wish I had spent the money for organizational boxes and done it up right. Lesson learned? Don't make the mistake of thinking I know what the future will look like or hold. I don't.
  • I wish I had dated everything I stored. Seriously, I do. I did not think I would wonder, but I do. I thought I would be so caught up in the sweetness of remembering I wouldn't care how old they were when they drew or wrote that card or note, but now, looking back, I wonder how old they were when they did and said that. 
  • I wish I had thought of my children's convenience instead of my own when considering how to store  memories. When I began storing memories it was for me as their mama. Now that I am older and have seen my parents, aunts, and uncles left with decisions regarding my grandparents' belongings I view the keeping of things from a much different perspective. Yes, I want to be able to enjoy sweet memories from my children's growing up years, and I definitely look forward to receiving cards and notes from grandchildren someday. However, I also realize whatever I keep is something I am leaving behind for someone else to deal with in the future. I want to make those future moments as painless as possible. 
  • I wish I had asked God how to store my memories. He is the only One who knew what I would need in the future. Looking back I can see He tried to lead me in the right direction, and I didn't recognize it as Him. Consequently, I reasoned His still, small voice away. 

This brings us to the questions section. As I consider how to organize and store memories perhaps I can help myself by answering the following questions. Feel free to join me in answering the questions in your own journal/notebook.
  1. Who am I keeping this memory for? Is this for me to look back on with fondness or is it to pass on to a future generation? 
  2. Why am I keeping this? Is it connected with a pleasant memory, Does it need to stay in the family line? Why?
  3. Do I care what happens to this item after I pass on? If so, I need to provide written instructions for the convenience of those who will be taking care of it. 
  4. How can I store my memories for the fullest enjoyment possible? Would this be more enjoyable if kept in a scrapbook or storage box? Is there another way to enjoy this memory? Could this be turned into artwork by combining with a photograph? 
  5. Will this be a future blessing or burden for my children?
  6. Is this a burden or a blessing for me?
  7. Are there any other areas of my life I need to ask God for His wisdom? Are there any other areas of my life I am using my own reasoning? Is there a nagging feeling when I think about certain area(s)? That could be an indication God's wisdom is needed.
Scripture to ponder: Habakkuk 2:2, James 1:5, Colossians 3:23, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 55:8-9


A New Time

"For decades, God has been renewing His people's understanding of how important it is to confess His Word out loud. By this point, mature Believers should be well-versed in the power of speaking God's Word. In 5778, it is time to move from simple understanding to very purposeful action in this area." - Jamie Rohrbaugh

These words from the prophetic word on The Elijah List this morning resonated strongly within me. Here is the link to the entire word: http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=18829.



Blessed 5778!

Rosh Hashanah begins this evening. There are two very imperfect loaves of challah bread cooling in the kitchen, and a brisket is sending out wafts of deliciousness as it cooks as well. A chai honey cake is sitting all pretty as it waits for dessert time. There was another honey cake, but it didn't come out of the pan well last night. Since it fell to pieces, it couldn't be served to company. Therefore, it became dessert for us last night after supper. It was delicious.

While Rosh Hashanah is about more than food, something about the preparation has captured my attention.  For the first time since beginning our family's observance of God's Seasons aka feasts, I did not stress even a little about everything being just so. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing the cakes and bread for our feast even though neither turned out exactly perfect.

The challah loaves are beautiful, but I am fairly certain they are not technically supposed to be beautiful in such a "rustic" way. At least none of the pictures online have such a decidedly rustic beauty about them.
Not only are the bread loaves imperfect, but they were made with a method that uses a ziplock bag! Not one bowl was used in the making of those loaves. Not one. Guess what! The sky is still above us, and the ground is still firm beneath our feet. Not one thing or person was negatively affected because I tried something that seemed a little "iffy" to me, and I don't feel like a failure because I took a shortcut and my bread looks less than perfect. That in and of itself is amazing.

For those wondering, the plastic bag method was convenient, but I have another recipe tucked away to try next time. The new recipe uses a bowl. Besides desiring a well-oiled bowl for my dough to raise in, I also want to try several different ways of braiding the loaves. Not only that, but I want to try braiding the regular bread dough recipe we usually use for homemade bread too. I think I sense a bread braiding phase beginning. Do you? Can't you envision a Thanksgiving table with loaves of braided bread spreading their glossy beauty about? How charming would a basket of tiny loaves of braided bread be alongside a tureen of soup? Of course I want the bread to be delicious, but if it looks pretty too, so much the better.

Anyway...today is new, a new year, a new season, new. We are beginning this new tonight with a simple meal shared with family and friends celebrating God's goodness to His children. Some say gathering around the table is a sacred act. That when we gather together in the name of Jesus, something amazing takes place. I am not an expert, but I do know that most of my fondest memories involve the gathering of family and friends, and that when we were gathered, we shared a meal. I have also been learning about Sabbath rest for several months. Sometimes an actual stopping of work is unable to take place, but we can make an intentional stop in our hearts to make Christ the totality of our focus. This brings a Sabbath rest to my inner being.

Somehow, I sense that tonight as we gather around our table and place our focus completely on God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we will experience more of God's new along with a Sabbath rest. That something amazing will take place as we give thanks and break bread together. Something about what I am sensing imparts an inner peace that allows my shoulders to relax and my thoughts to be calm. It also prompts me to stand behind each chair at my table and with my hands resting on the back of each chair lovingly lavish each one with prayer for whoever will sit there this evening. These prayers may be the most important part of the evening's preparations. For what good will delicious bread and brisket be to my family without a loving peaceful place to sit and find rest?

The influence of a woman is immense. May the influence I have be always and ever to the glory of God. May my home literally be infused with His love, peace, and grace. May all who enter and all who depart experience the love of God made real. Some may doubt whether ordinary bread and meat can speak of the love of God. As for me, I have no doubt concerning the loving song ordinary things sing when touched by God. May the words from the book of Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" be lived out fully in our home tonight and every night.

Happy Rosh Hashanah 5778!
Abundantly Blessed


A Conversation Worth Sharing

Some conversations are worth sharing. The conversations on Sally Clarkson's blog and website are just such treasure. This post right here is filled with so much more than a loving reminder from a friend of the importance of the family table and feasting, though that is worth the visit there in and of itself. This visit from Sally Clarkson contains a podcast and the opportunity to win some lovely tea towels. You don't want to miss this opportunity! Truly,  you don't.

Love and hugs,
Abundantly Blessed


Don't Forget Rosh Hashanah!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins later this week! It is also known as the Feast of Trumpets. It is one of God's feasts listed in the Bible. It begins 10 days of Awe that lead up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These high holy days are an excellent opportunity to take the time to examine our hearts. How thankful we are to Yeshua, Jesus, for making atonement once and for all for our sins!

Getting ready to blow our shofar, trumpet!
Abundantly Blessed


I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will

Isn't it interesting how the various areas of our lives intersect each other? Recently in school we have been learning a phrase from a former educator named Charlotte Mason. Miss Mason was, and still is, renown for her methods and techniques used in children's education. The saying we have been learning is "I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will." Each line in this phrase is intended to be seen as a step on a ladder that leads to development of the will and maturity. It was shared on a website as the following:

  • I am a child of God. I'm very valuable because God made me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. God has made me able to do everything that I have to do.
  • I ought to do my job so that I will be obeying God, my parents, and everyone in authority over me.
  • I will resolve to keep watch over my thoughts and tongue, and choose what's right even if it's not what I want.

Obviously this is a tool to be used when instructing a child how to develop their will. Yet I quickly realized I need to learn the use of these steps as much or more than my children. One area I need to apply these steps is in the area of physical fitness.

I can't be a mother who is always ready for adventure and whatever fun her children and family come up with while sitting at my computer in a body stagnating from lack of use. It isn't the excess fat on my body that is keeping me from actively living life. It is my decision to engage in passive activities rather than physically active ones that allows excess fat to gather on my body. Age and hormones may make it easier for me to get fatter and more out-of-shape, but it is my willingness to remain fat and out-of-shape that keeps me this way. It is my refusal to make different choices for my physical well-being that determine my present state of body.

I am able to move. I am able to choose activities that require more motion. I am able to make choices in diet and exercise that balance hormones. I can make decisions to do so. I can live full and healthy. I can be active. I can make hard stops during the day for exercise and prayer. I can choose healthy. I ought to provide an example of a restfully active life for my children and others around me. I ought to show my gratitude for the abundant life God has blessed me with by choosing to live abundantly in every area of life.

What will I do? What will I choose to think? These are the questions being answered today. If you are considering walking more fully in total abundance, a journal or notebook might be useful for jotting down thoughts, prayers, and answers to questions asked along the journey. There will be questions and suggested journaling activities included at the bottom of each post for anyone who might want to dig a little deeper or go a bit further. Thank you to everyone who is walking along beside me in this. It is our first day in! Here we go!

Extra thoughts, questions, and journaling: 

  1. What area(s) of my life do I need to be honest with myself about? 
  2. In the above area(s), use the I am, I can, I ought, I will statements to document your honesty. Feel free to take another look at the paragraph in the post where the statements are used in regards to my physical fitness as an example.
  3.  Remaining in a brutally honest mode, prayerfully answer the questions of What will I do? and What will I choose to think? in regards to the chosen areas from number 1.
  4.  God is our truth authority. Go to the Bible and find scripture verses that correlate to the I am, I can, I ought, and I will statements shared in the post. For example, Psalm 139 could be used for I am a child of God....
  5. Remember that this is a journey. Learning what complete abundance in Christ is will be a process. We will be learning new ways of seeing, hearing, and thinking about ourselves and others. Let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus and show ourselves mercy and grace as we learn to be more like Him.
  6.  In a journal, list five things that cause gratitude to rise up within.
  7.  Tell, write, sing, draw, or express in another personal way that gratitude to God.

Living one step closer to God's Abundance,
Abundantly Blessed


The Door is Open!

"The Doorway Stands Open Before You"
by Daneen Bottler, Portland, OR

Recently, the Holy Spirit brought me into a vision of an open, grassy field with lots of wild flowers growing in it. Right in the middle of this grassy field stood this wooden doorway. It was made of a simple wood-frame and had a wooden threshold without a door attached to it. You could see from one side to the other, as well as all the way around it. There was nothing ornate or special about this doorway. It was very simple without any extra decorative features. I then heard the Lord say, "The doorway stands open before you. The threshold is waiting to be crossed."

A Vision of the Door on the Doorway

The vision shifted and I saw a crowd of thousands of people. All of the people stood together in this field and simply stared at the doorway; it was as if they were paralyzed in fear. Then after a couple of minutes, a some took a couple steps toward the doorway, but were hesitant to go any farther. A couple brave ones then managed to get up close to the threshold of the doorway, yet couldn't bring themselves to cross it and retreated back to their place in the crowd.

Many started to discuss the doorway. Some thought this to be a strange place for a doorway to be, so they didn't think it was a good idea to cross it. Some thought that its design was too simple to be of any significance, so they didn't want to bother with it. Others were scared of it and they thought to themselves, "I think this is a trick. The land seems to appear the same on the other side." Some decided that this doorway was too good to be true; they questioned, "How did it get here? What is its purpose? Who made this doorway?"

As these conversations and different kinds of thinking were working their way through the crowd, I watched as they created a big door that attached itself to the open doorway and then closed. The enemy had used their fears of the future, with unbelief and critical thoughts against them, by tricking them into creating a door to attach to and close the doorway, so that the threshold could not be crossed. The door on the doorway was of the crowds own making, and they were deceived into thinking that the doorway was now closed.

The Lord again drew my attention to the simplicity of the doorway. As I looked at it closer, I realized that this doorway was made of the material from the Cross, His Cross. As this realization hit me, I knew what this doorway was; it was the doorway of simple, yet powerful, mountain-moving childlike faith. It was rugged not smooth, simple not ornate, hidden yet revealed; yet once the threshold of this doorway was crossed, everything changed.

Childlike faith not only believes that the impossible is possible, but it trusts the Father without explanation and obeys the Father's voice with love as its motivation, not fear. It is not ruled by finite thinking or past experiences, it is not weighed down by the values or problems of the world, but it operates out of the realm of love and eternal perspective, while completely tied to a deep trust in God, a loving Father, who delights to give good things to His children.

The Doorway is Open!

I heard the voice of the Lord again, "The doorway is before you and it stands open. No man can close what I have opened. The threshold is waiting to be crossed. Cross the threshold."

This new move of God, this glory fire awakening that God is doing in the earth, is something we have never known before. The Lord is bringing us into new understanding and encounters with His nature. Our minds and mindsets need to be renewed by the Spirit. The culture of the day has begun to influence the way many see, think and feel, and the Lord is recalibrating us to see, think and feel as He does, and to bring us back to our first love. He wants to remind us of who we are, who He is, and the mission of seeing the earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord and being completely reconciled to His heart.

Be strong and courageous, beloved! Renounce any agreement with fear, unbelief or a critical spirit. It's time to step out of the crowd and cross the threshold into this new place with the Father. The land on the other side of the threshold is rich and bountiful, and it is yours to live in. You are invited to live in the realm of, "With God ALL THINGS are possible," and you are invited to walk in complete surrender to the Father just as Jesus did.

As you cross the threshold into childlike faith, you will begin to become the history makers – the ones who move mountains, raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out demons, discover new inventions and Kingdom solutions, and even change the course of nations. You are about to step beyond your limitations into His fullness.

Receive what the Lord is saying to you, "The doorway is before you and it stands open. No man can close what I have opened. The threshold is waiting to be crossed. Cross the threshold." (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)

Daneen Bottler
Ty and Daneen Bottler Ministries
Email: info@tyanddaneenbottler.com
Website: www.tyanddaneenbottler.com

Daneen Bottler is a recognized prophetic voice for this generation. She and her husband, Ty, serve as the Senior Associate Leaders at Father's House, in Portland, Oregon, where she also oversees the prophetic and prayer ministries. Her passion is to see the glory of God displayed through His sons and daughters walking in their God given power and authority, seeing transformation happen everywhere they go. She and her husband recently released the worship album, Revealed, which is a prophetic call for the Church to rise and shine with the glory of God. Daneen has had the privilege of speaking and ministering at various churches and conferences throughout the Northwest, lending her prophetic voice to bringing unity within the Body of Christ, and seeing His Kingdom come.

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As I Think, So Am I

People age. We grow older. It is part of becoming more mature. How we mature and age, however, is completely up to each one of us individually. Every one ages; not every one gets old. Some people, no matter what their date of birth, are full of youthful vigor and vitality. Why is it that some in their 100s laugh with abandon and delight in performing daily tasks while other 50 somethings moan and groan barely able to drag their aching bodies through basic living? What makes the difference? Diet? Exercise? Vitamins? Maybe. All choices of life certainly play a part in a person's wholeness, but is it all physical, or do the spirit and soul also have something to do with this?  There is a scripture verse that seems to give insight into the question of why some people seem to fall apart when not really that old and other individuals remain youthful clear into their advanced years of living.

Proverbs 23:7 is a portion of scripture talking about manipulative people who tell you to eat and drink but in their heart they are secretly counting how much the meal they are serving you is costing them. However, there is a line in this verse that I feel provides insight into other situations as well. "As a man thinks in his heart so is he."  How do I think of myself? When I exert myself more physically than normal and feel the effects for a couple of days do I view the pain and discomfort of muscles unaccustomed to use as proof that I am "not as young as I once was" or simply what happens when I do something new? Do such aches motivate me to increase my strength by increasing my level of activity or do they prove I am "getting old" and consequently need to slow down a bit? How do I view myself when my body responds and reacts differently than it did when I was younger? Does this cause me to see myself as old or do I recognize I am in a different season and need to adapt and/or learn new ways of maintaining health?

How do I see myself, and more importantly, what do I think of myself? "As a man thinks in his heart so is he." are the words that came to me when I was pondering why some people remain youthful until the moment they move from this world into the next and why others seem to become an old person with the first ache their aging bodies experience. The longer I considered the possible connection between how a person thinks of him/her self and  how he/she ages, the more convinced I became such a connection is real. Not only do I believe there is a valid connection, but I also believe how a man or woman sees him or her self determines how old they behave and feel every bit as much, if not more, than their physical condition does. "Mind over matter" seems to be quite valid in the matter of aging.

Before it is thought I am saying that one's physical condition has no effect at all on the aging process, let us pause a moment for me to clearly state a person's physical condition definitely has a bearing in the aging process. I am merely considering whether or not how a person thinks has anything to do with why some people seem to be so much younger than other people who are the same age or younger. How a person thinks about them self and life in general seems to be a major difference between youthful vitality and creaking age. Perhaps I should provide a couple examples.

Our family has a neighbor who is 70 something. Our neighbor has been actively ranching all of her life. She loves being outdoors and until earlier this summer worked out with the cattle every day. After several weeks of having to remain indoors, our neighbor was able to return to work out of doors. She was overjoyed and felt like she had been freed from a prison! Weeks of "taking it easy" had left their mark and our neighbor reported that her muscles weren't used to being outside working. She sure hoped it didn't take them long to get used to it though. "As a man thinks in his heart so is he." Our neighbor didn't for a moment consider her aching muscles to be an indicator she was getting old or that she might not be able to continue working as normal. She merely hoped it didn't take her body long to get used to working again.

Another family friend in her 60s regularly walks or runs several miles daily. She is very active and never considers not participating in any physical activity with her children and grandchildren. That she is the grandmother of the group has no bearing whatsoever on what she does or does not do. If it looks fun, and she wants to try something, she does. On a recent trip, she went parasailing. Not once did it cross her mind that not every 60 something-year-old woman would do such an adventurous thing.  "As a man thinks in his heart so is he."  Fully adventurous and ready to live her own life to the full, this same friend can snuggle in with a small child and a storybook to create a lovely sight to behold. She can fly into "mama bear mode" with the best mother or grandmother. She delights in living. "As a man thinks in his heart so is."

There is one other commonality between our neighbor and friend. Both our neighbor and our friend have experienced seasons when they were limited in their physical mobility. Our neighbor has had difficulty with her knees and had one replaced and the other is not behaving very well either. Her desire to live her life outside working with her cattle as she desires is so great she does everything she can to continue doing so. Our friend was in an accident several years ago that left her with the possibility of never walking again. That experience put a resolve inside of her to fiercely protect and guard her physical ability to take care of herself and move independently. Life is a priceless gift, a treasure not to be taken for granted. Our neighbor and our friend view their physical mobility and ability to "get around" independently a great gift that neither lady wishes to be without, ever. Being able to live the life they desire fully, for themselves, is worth working for.

Rising in the early morning hours to walk and/or run several miles is a small price to pay if it contributes to her overall health says our friend. She well remembers the days spent in a wheelchair having her most basic needs taken care of by others. Being able to care for herself is something she never again wants to be without. Not being able to be out and about in her cattle is not a fond memory for our neighbor. She feels as if she has been set free from prison to no longer be housebound. I could study the lives of these dear women and come to the conclusion that the amount of physical activity is what keeps these ladies youthful, and I do think that plays a part, but I truly feel their level of physical activity is more determined by the way they think than the other way around. I think the way they view themselves and life is what motivates them to be physically active. Maybe I am wrong, but maybe "As a man thinks in his heart so is he." is about more than a stingy manipulative person. Maybe it is quite literally true in every area of our lives.

As I wonder about these things, I can't help but think about what type of person I want to be. What sort of life do I want to live? How do I want to live? Do I want to live at all? These are the questions I think each of us get to ask ourselves at some point. The sooner the better I'm a thinkin'. After answering these questions, perhaps each of us can prayerfully consider what we need to do to live that life and be that person. Once we determine what needs to be done, then we can face one of the most telling questions of all, am I willing to do what needs doing to live the life I desire and be the person I long to be? Is the life I want and the person I want to be, the life and person God desires for me? What does God desire for me?

Whether a friend, a neighbor, or someone I haven't yet met, if you would like to join me in pursuing a life fully lived, please do. You are welcome to look yourself in the face and heart and ask yourself hard questions while I face myself. Feel free to come alongside me as I get honest with myself about myself. I can't promise the journey will be easy, but I have a tingling in my knower that makes me think it will be decidedly worth it. No matter what happens, I don't want it to be possible for anyone to say I didn't try to live and live well. I will fall, but may I always get back up. I will make mistakes, but may I always keep trying. I will say things I oughtn't to have said, but may I always speak up for truth.

This blog is named Abundance House, yet  rarely do I make choices of abundance for all areas of my life. I focus on the spirit a lot here because I am a spirit, but the spirit is not all there is. I also have a soul containing my mind, will, and emotions, and I live in a body. My spirit, soul, and body interact and work together as one just as the Father, Spirit, Son are three yet one. I am created in their image. If one part of me is functioning from a place of lack and/or poverty, the other two areas are affected. My spirit may be willing to live fully but if my soul and body are not strong, I can't live fully whole.

Because I can no longer in good conscience continue to blog from a place of partial abundance when the blog is titled Abundance House, I have invited any who wish to travel with me on a journey. I desire the true abundance of God which is a complete, whole fullness in every area spirit, soul, and body. If I am going to write for a blog named Abundance House then I need to be seeking complete abundance at my house. So, that is what I am going to do.

This is where the hard questions and answers will come in to play. In order to live fully abundantly, I will have to make honest assessments regarding the various areas of living. I have an opportunity to be completely honest with myself and then choose what to do with the discoveries God leads me to find. Yes, this journey will be made in Him. He is the way, the truth, the life. I can only discover truth if I am travelling with Him.

Prayers for those who choose to join me in the adventure towards complete abundance, and prayerful blessings for those who will make this decision further down the road. From my Abundance House to yours. May we learn to think in our hearts what God thinks of us.

Abundantly Blessed


Will We Obey?

It's time to get down to the nitty gritty of Christian living. Forgiveness may be one of the grittiest decisions a Believer faces day by day. Forgiveness often travels hand in hand with what Jesus stated is the second greatest command of loving our neighbor as ourselves. God says in His Word that those who love Him obey His commands, and Scripture abounds with verses on forgiveness. So, if you want Biblical confirmation of the necessity of forgiveness, it can be found in the Bible. 

Online concordances and Bibles are available for use free of charge if you would like to use an online source. Bible Gateway is one website; others can be located with an online search. Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty of living Jesus, find out what pleases our Heavenly Father, and be about His business. 

Who will we focus on? 

"You can focus on the person who hurt you or the God who healed you." 
- Christine Caine

Will we obey and forgive? 

"Forgiveness doesn't diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God." 
- Max Lucado

Searching out scriptures that focus on the topic we are growing in helps us retain laser like focus. Many people write verses on index cards or sticky notes and place them in places they will see most such as above the kitchen sink or on the bathroom mirror. One of my daughters creates images with her chosen verses on a Bible app. Another one of my daughters has a journaling Bible with art work in the margins she can color. My youngest prefers to draw her own graphic art in her personal journal. Whatever helps us learn God's Word is the best method for each of us to use. The technique that works for you may not work for me so each one of us is free to personalize our study. 

Now that we have each selected our method of learning the scriptures, here are some verses on forgiveness to get us started:

Proverbs 17:9 He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.

Matthew 6:14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

Matthew 12:7 And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.

Matthew 18:35So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

Mark 11:25And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.

Mark  11:26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.

Luke 6:37 Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiveand released.

Luke 17:3Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him.

Luke 17:4 And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).

2 Corinthians 2:7 So [instead of further rebuke, now] you should rather turn and [graciously] forgive and comfort and encourage [him], to keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow and despair.

Colossians 3:13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

1 Peter 4:8Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].