Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Decade of Delight


Today, Grace turned 10 years old. My memory is faded about many things, but I can still remember the night she was born. We kept watching the clock tick by at the hospital, and, when it finally got close to midnight, we hoped that she would wait a couple of extra minutes to be born (who does that?!) so she might have the sweet privilege of sharing her birthday with my dear Aunt Sharon. And she did!:)

Grace came into the world at 12:54 am on November 30. She weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long. She was a precious little bundle. I can still picture her when they handed her to me...a perfectly round face with the most beautiful red lips!

Though she was petite and as cute as a button, she had a set of lungs on her. At 3 weeks she developed colic and cried all the time for the next 3 months.:) It was not fun going through that stage of her life, but I think she got out a lifetime of "fussy" in those 3 months!:)

If you know Grace, you know that she is a sensitive, caring girl with the sweetest smile. She continues to love all things babies and is so excited that she is one year closer to babysitting. School has been a bit of an adjustment for her, this year, but it has matured her in many beautiful ways. She is no longer our little girl, she is our dear young lady. Our gracious gift from God!

Dear Grace,

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! It's hard to believe you are 10 years old! You have entered "Micah's world" of staying up till 8:30! Way to go!:)

This year, I have seen other growth in you besides just the days ticking by. You are maturing into a beautiful young lady...both outside and in. I know you don't particularly like how short you are compared to everyone else in your class. I know how you feel because that was me every year...all the way up to my senior year in high school! But Gracie girl...if anyone takes but a minute to look at your face, they know you are not a "little girl". And if they go a step farther and talk to you all doubts would be erased. You are far from little, and far from immature!:)

In fact, it's your words and your actions that define who you are, Grace, not your height. My prayer is that, though you may be small, God would use you to be a great example amongst your friends and in our family. An example of His love, His mercy, His grace. I pray that you would be known for your kindness, your words of encouragement, and your honesty. But, most of all, I pray that you would live out your name.

Grace means undeserved favor and kindness. My sweet girl, you, and all those whom God has saved, have been given immeasurable grace. We have received eternal life, the Holy Spirit, adoption into the family of God...when all we deserved was hell. I pray that you life would be marked with a deep love for Jesus and a graciousness toward those around you, whether they seem to "deserve it" or not.

I am so thankful for the gift of grace given to our family by your life! I look forward, with joy, to the years of mothering I still have with you and to the blossoming friendship that will continue to grow with each passing year!

I love you!

Mom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Near is His Name


"We sing not of a hidden God, who sleeps and leaves the church to her fate, but of one who ever in our darkest days is most near, a very present help in trouble. Near is his name. Glory be unto the Lord, whose perpetual deeds of grace and majesty are the sure tokens of his being with us always, even unto the ends of the world." -Spurgeon

Psalm 138

I give You thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing Your praise; I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness,for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word. On the day I called, You answered me; my strength of soul You increased. All the kings of the earth shall give You thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of Your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.For though the LORD is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Precious quote


"What if, sometimes, there are mists and fogs so thick that I cannot see the path? ‘Tis enough that You hold my hand, and guide me in the darkness; for walking with You in the gloom–is far sweeter and safer than walking alone in the sunlight!

Dear Lord, give me grace to trust You wholly, whatever may befall; yielding myself up to Your leading, and leaning hard on You when “dangers are in the path.” Your way for me has been marked out from all eternity, and it leads directly to Yourself and home!"

~Susannah Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just in case you're in need of a smile....

...may I introduce to you the newest music group to hit the scene: "TCP" (Titus/Caleb Pichura)! :)

video

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picture Time

Last month, Bryan's mom, his cousin Darcy, and her son Morgan came to visit us for a week and a half. It's hard to believe that was over two weeks ago already!

It was great to have some nice weather and "explore" Fort Langley and fun to spend time together! It was especially neat to see Morgan and the kids play and make lots of memories with each other!






Sushi Fun!:)


The following week Bryan and I got away, just the two of us, for the first time in a year...and it was lovely!:) Bryan got a cold so that put a bit of a damper on things...but we had so much fun going to a spa (paid for by our insurance, go figure!), catching a movie, shopping, talking, and enjoy each other without a boatload of interruptions!:)

Gotta try a "Spitz Burger" if you get up to Whistler...I actually ate the whole thing!

It snowed in the hills while we were there.

We were so thankful for the sacrifice my sister-in-law, Michelle, made by coming to watch the kids....they had a great time with her (and with Paul and his girlfriend, Sarah, who came up at the end to help out...thanks too, guys!) A fun "edible" craft with Aunt Michelle!:)


Before Paul and Sarah went home, we had to try a bit of an experiment! Sarah is from England...and she grew up with different types of candy that came from England. Guess what? Canada has them, too!:) So, we all did a taste test and ranked the "candies you can't get in the USA". :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dying


Ready for another "did you know" science lesson? :)

I don't know what the scenery looks like around your house...but the trees are just beautiful here in Surrey. No matter where I go, there are beautiful yellows, reds, oranges, and combinations of all three!

What is amazing to me is that all the beauty we see is actually because the leaf is "dying". The tree stops making food in the fall and the chlorophyll (what makes the leaf green) goes away. Let that sink in for a minute...the reason for the breathtaking colors is a result of the death of the leaves.

Could that be a more vivid picture for us, as believers, of what the result is when we "die to self"? When we humble ourselves by dying (taking up the cross) to our desires, wants, dreams, and plans... and following in our Saviour's footsteps, trusting in His plan. Living a truly vibrant life that can only come from being crucified in Christ.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

As we daily "present (our) bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" we, too, can be a beautiful display for the watching world (both those INSIDE and outside of our home!). We can shine forth the amazing "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"! Our lives...our words, actions, facial expressions, body language...can "proclaim the excellencies of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light."

But we have to die first.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sunflowers

Last week, in science, the boys and I were learning about plants and flowers. I have done this very lesson more than once in the past with my other children...but I was struck, anew, with one particular flower....the sunflower. In fact, it's officially my favorite flower (although gerber daisies take a really close second!:)). If you remember anything from school (which I clearly didn't), or if you happen to love flowers and gardening (which appears to be a bit low on my list, too)...you probably already know where I am going with this...

Did you know that (most) sunflowers actually follow the sun?! Guess that is how they go their name!:) I got to thinking about how much we should desire to be like sunflowers....that in each moment of each day our faces are turned upwards, following our Saviour.

Sonfollowers.

How many times do we spend all of our time looking around us, trying to make sense of the "mess", placing our hope in people and things that will let us down...instead of fixing our gaze on the One who always accomplishes His purposes, Who never changes, Who is faithful and true, Who gives hope that will never disappoint?! A lack of joy and hope is a sure sign that our gaze has shifted...that we have become people followers instead of a follower of the Son of God!

I couldn't help but think of the days, though, when it's cloudy out. You know the sun is still shining behind the clouds but you can't see it...and all seems grey. What does the sunflower do then? It keeps following the sun! It stays on it's same course day after day regardless of the weather all around it.

Oh that we would do the same...that we would follow Jesus even when He seems hidden by the stormy clouds of life. That we would "walk by faith" even when we cannot see. And, as the sunflower bears the name of the "one" whom it follows, may we clearly show forth in our words and actions that we, too, bear the name of the One in whom we follow!

If you find yourself struggling to "look up", Girltalk had some great words of encouragement yesterday:

"3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!." (Psalm 37:3-7)

One thing above all has enabled me to dwell at peace in the midst of this trial: looking to the Lord alone, focusing “the eyes of my heart” deliberately and entirely upon God and His sovereignty, wisdom, and love.

“Look up!" exhorts Derek Kidner in his commentary on Psalm 37:

"An obsession with enemies and rivals cannot be simply switched off, but it can be ousted by a new focus of attention; note the preoccupation with the Lord Himself, expressed in the four phrases that contain His name here. It includes a deliberate redirection of one’s emotions (4a, take delight), and an entrusting of one’s career (your way, 5) and reputation (your vindication, 6) to Him. This is a liberation.”

True liberation from our troubles is achieved when we follow the steps laid out for us in Psalm 37, when we deliberately redirect our emotions to delight in the Lord and entrust our reputation and our future entirely to Him. Our preoccupation with our enemies can only be ousted by a new preoccupation: the glory and the goodness of God.

As I have sought to fill my mind--through Scripture, sermons, and songs--with thoughts of the Lord and who He is and what He has done and what He promises to do, I have been able to experience freedom, peace, and even joy in the midst of this most difficult trial. It doesn't mean the pain or difficulty is removed, but that is not the focus of my attention. It is the Lord. To Him will I look.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trust in the Lord


I have started reading through "The Heart of the Bible" by John MacArthur and have just been blessed oodles and oodles by the verses that are shared and explained!

Yesterday's came at such a fitting time...as my mom would say it, God is so PERSONAL!!!!! It was a couple of verses that are read, shared, and used so much that, in my own heart, I often lose sight of the beauty, depth and wisdom of the them:

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

Here are some snip-its that MacArthur shares about these verses:

"This command really gets to the core of our Christian living. Do you trust the Lord completely? "With all your heart" means that you trust Him with everything, with all that you are. Can you trust the Lord no matter what comes, good or bad? Can you trust Him no matter what pain or suffering you have to endure, no matter what trial you have to face? Will you trust Him when your dreams crash and burn? Do you trust the Lord wholeheartedly, no matter what?

The alternative is to trust yourself, to lean on your own understanding. We can choose to trust our own interpretation of events instead of trusting that God is directing our paths. When things in your life seem out of control, you have to remember that God loves you and that in all things He is working for your good. We're not meant to understand everything that happens to us. We are meant to learn to trust God rather than trusting our own ability to make sense of things.....

You cannot lean on your own interpretation of the things that happen in your life. You can only lean on the Lord. Trust Him wholeheartedly. In everything acknowledge Him. He will open up a path that you never even expected. This is His promise."


What precious truths to meditate on...what nourishment for our weary and often unsure souls!