Tag Archive for peace

God is in CONTROL!

Sometimes life can seem out of control. Do you ever look at the condition of our country and wonder if it’s going to “hell in a handbasket”? I do every day. Do you ever watch the news or read the paper or even look on Facebook and feel overwhelmed at all the evil around you? Do you worry about the countless mistakes and misguiding of our government and wonder how our country will make it?

These are things I struggle with daily. But check out what the Bible has to say about it:

John 16:33 MSG Bible 33 I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”


God has everything under control! In fact, believe it or not, He is far more capable of handling this world and your problems than you are. He’s all-powerful God. He’s everything you need. He’s more than you could ever hope or ask for. He’s out of the realm of your wildest imaginations.

God wants to give you good gifts. He wants to see you do great things. He has hope for your future and a plan for it! Jerimiah 29:11 NIV Version. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God will not give up on you, and He doesn’t want to see you giving up on yourself. So hang in there! Wait it out. Don’t give up. You can do this thing we call life!

What should we be doing? We are to be about the Master’s business. We are on this earth to LOVE God and to tell others about Him. We are to LOVE those around us. We are here to do God’s work of binding up the broken hearted. Reach out your hand to help someone up. Find ways to show God’s love through kindness. Maybe if you spent a little less time focusing on all your many problems and started looking for ways to help others, you would soon see that what you’re facing is not as hard compared to what someone else is going through.

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

Start small, look around you, and find someone who needs you. Lend a helping hand, share a kind word or just give someone a simple hug.

So what about the condition of our world? We can see evil all around us and we see individuals NOT loving God and telling others about Him. It’s a scary world to live in. What can we do beyond loving to make the world a better place? We need to PRAY!

Philippians 4:6New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Isaiah 65:24New Living Translation (NLT)

24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

God answers prayers! He is waiting to hear from you today. So if you are worried about your life, give it to God. He will bend His ear and listen to you with the loving heart of a Father. He will meet your every need. He wants to give you good gifts.

Living in America is a great privilege. It’s an honor to be blessed enough to live in this country. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am. We must fight for it. We must protect it. We must appreciate it.

It’s time we, as a nation, come together and get on our knees and ask God to heal our land! This country is going to hell in a hand basket, but God can turn that around. With the snap of His finger, He can restore our greatness, our peace, and our wholeness.

2 Chronicles 7:14 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

America is the greatest country in the world and WE ARE AMERICANS! I don’t care what you like or don’t like or what you think about what someone else is doing, one of the great things about this nation is we are all individuals and we are free to be that. We are celebrating our independence during this time of year. We are thinking about our freedom. God blessed us with that freedom!

I want God’s blessings on this country to continue. I want this country to flourish. We have to stand together and plead with God to keep His hand on our nation. This is a picture I took at our church this week. It reminded me of God’s hand on my life and the things in it. We are Americans and we LOVE this country! It looks so peaceful and beautiful to me.

flags

We must pray for this country and the leaders that lead it. We must ask God to forgive us of our sins and have mercy on us as a nation. We must seek His face. He can restore us. He wants to give us good gifts. He can bless our lives, our homes, and our nation again. We need to seek Him.

I urge you, friends, spend some time today in prayer for this great nation and its leaders. We must turn back to God in order for Him to save us. I challenge you to pray for our nation and all of its leaders every day. Make it a habit. Don’t stop. You will be amazed at the power of prayer. If you have faith, God will hear you and answer.

Don’t forget that God is in control of your life and He cares about you. He wants to bless you. We must put our trust in Him and seek His face.

I have some friends that have written about praying for our nation and leaders as well. Check out their posts here. Just click on the logo to go to the post. You’ll be so glad you did!

 

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Transformation in 2014

Wow, 2014, you really took me for a ride! On the last day of this year, I reflect on a time of love, loss, and new beginnings. I mean, really, who could have ever known this year would be so transformative?

butterfly

Every year ebbs and flows with new life and love lost, but this year, the grief and loss I felt was shocking and shook me to the core. Was it because those lives seem so irreplaceable? Was it because they did so much good in the world and the loss was so great for humanity? Was it because they were so close to my own age? Does that make me mortal? Yes…and mortality hurts. It’s amazing how much bigger a hole in your life someone’s presence makes than you could have ever imagined it would. We take people for granted, and we need to stop and cherish every relationship and every love we have.

Our Pastor of over 18 years retired and moved away. We knew it would happen someday, but change is hard. During his retirement process, we merged our church with another, so we not only got a new Pastor, we got a new church family, a new schedule, a new style, a new way of doing things, a new order, a new mission, and a new everything.


Sometime before this year, God began to whisper to me that my time in children’s ministry was shortening. He spoke to me over and over that it was not a forever gig. I LOVE working with children and my time spent with them at church is no exception. I trust God, I want to do His will, but I didn’t know how I could leave something I love doing so much. We followed God’s leading and stepped aside from the position of Children’s Pastors and stepped away from our work there, but here we are months later just waiting. It has given me the chance to focus on my writing which I totally feel called to by God as a ministry for Him, but I still have that awkward, “why are we not with the kids?” feeling. It hurts. I know God has a plan and it’s for my good. More than anything, I want to be in God’s will. I know His plans for my future are good. Check out Jerimiah 29:11.

Our only child graduated from college this year. That’s a huge milestone for our little nest. She also moved out on her own for the first time. And she brought Jacob into our lives. She went from our baby to a grown woman in a matter of minutes. She will always be our baby of course, but our roles have changed. She’s a full time worker. She’s on her own paying her own rent. She no longer relies on us for everything. It’s exciting, and we are proud…but it hurts. Our only nephew graduated with her and moved across the country. Change is so hard.

graduation

To celebrate graduation, we went to see Niagara Falls, a life-long dream for us. It was amazing. It was fun. It was great family time for us.

niagara falls bucket list dream vacationniagara falls

I lost some kids I have kept for a very long time. They were simply too old to keep coming. Its part of this job, but it never hurts any less. One of the kids who left this year was my longest ever student. For over 10 years I’ve seen his face daily. Change is not easy. I enrolled new kids as well and am getting to know them. The journey of loss and new love cycles over and over again in this job.

We expanded and gardened a much bigger area this year which gave us the freedom to grow and learn about many more things. We worked hard and put a lot of effort into it, and we are proud of it! We planted, tended, weeded, and harvested so much goodness this year.

gardening with kids tomatoesgardening with kidsharvesting with kids

I started the blog this year. As I worked on trying to find a publisher for my book, I was told I needed to have a market for the book. It’s a story about how I learned to grow food with my kids. Start a blog….hmmm…I don’t even know where to begin. So I have written and worked and learned A LOT this year as I try to get this brand new blog off the ground. I also started a Facebook page to link to it. Another big adventure.

preschool learning

This year I have grown tremendously, I have loved, I have lost, and I have started many new beginnings. I’m in awe of it when I look at it as a whole. Let’s talk about a few of my favorite things. One of them is the smiles of my babies when they exude true joy. The kind when their eyes light up and their face beams. Another favorite thing is the look of pride on their faces when they conquer a new skill on their own. The feeling and body language of “I did it all by myself”. It’s amazing. The look of concentration on children’s faces as they make a connection for the first time is another thing I adore. It’s the aha moment, you can see it click in their brains by the expressions on their faces. I am truly blessed to have a job where I experience these things.

What are some of my favorite things to grow with the kids? Okra-it’s so tall and prickly, there are some amazing sensory experiences involved in okra, right down to the slimy liquid that seeps out of them when you cut them. Tomatoes are a favorite for their bright red color and delicious texture. The kids learn so much as they learn to only pick the red, red ones. Extra tall sunflowers are a pure joy. They are amazing, they are food, and they are stately as they sway quietly in the breeze. Zinnias are a favorite because they have such vibrant color and are so resilient they can stand up to the brutal summer temperatures in Oklahoma. In the dead heat of summer, they are usually the only thing pretty still standing. And of course peas, my very favorite thing to eat fresh from the garden. I love those delightful little pods full of sweet tantalizing flavors. And the kids LOVE to pick them and “pop” them. Peas make us smile.

zinnias

sunflower

Some of my favorite products come from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Non GMO certified seed is all they sell so I don’t have to worry about getting the wrong thing. I love Annie Haven’s Moo Poo Tea to fertilize my plants with. I love Tom Copeland’s Tax Workbook and will be ordering my 2014 copy right away to help me do my taxes for the year. In addition, I love the Oklahoma Food Co-op. They are loaded with products I am looking for from wheat berries to grind for my flour, to meat that I am confident is from animals that lived a quality, happy, torture free life. The Co-op sells chemical free home products, homemade dinners, breads, pastas, and cheeses, fresh produce, and so much more. I love getting my order each month and can’t wait to enjoy it.

I have many favorite blogs as well. I will mention a few. One of my favorite is Little Big Harvest where my friend Andrea is doing what I’m doing with her kids in the garden. I love learning along with her and her little charges. I love being encouraged that I’m not alone in my desire to teach these skills to very young children. I also love Square Foot Gardening 4 U, Gardening Jones, Vegetable Gardening, and Red Dirt Ramblings that I go to for answers to many garden questions. They are a treasure trove of great tips and information. Vegetable Gardening is really a Facebook page I follow, but there is a blog for the Average Person Gardening that has a super cool seeds of the month club that is linked to that Facebook page.  I follow them both. I especially enjoy reading advice from Red Dirt Ramblings because she lives in my state and has a similar climate to what our garden has, so I know when she’s seeding, I should be seeding. I love that! Another favorite blog I love is Juggling Real Food and Real Life. This blog encourages me on my real food journey. What I mean by real food is whole, unprocessed, healthful foods like those I strive to serve and eat. She gives many great tips about how to fit that lifestyle of eating into a real, busy, hectic life. We all need help with that. And my all-time favorite blog to read is The (not always) Lazy W. Her writing is a lovely adventure of heart that transforms me with feelings of love and joy. She writes about running, gardening, food and just life. She is a blessing of goodness in a world that needs more of it. There are many more blogs I love, but these are my favorites today.

Finally, the favorites of my readers. My most popular blog posts for 2014 were: What Childcare Providers wish Parents Knew, What Parents wish Childcare Providers Knew, How to Throw a Gingerbread Party, 7 Inexpensive and Adorable Gift Wrapping Ideas, and How to Make Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix. Those were your top picks with comments and clicks. I am more than grateful for each look someone gave anything I wrote. I love that anyone is interested at all in what I have to say. My hope with this blog is to encourage kindness, love, and understanding in people. To make the world a better place, more full of good food, and good times than it was before. I want to open hearts and minds to doing good, lending a hand up, helping others, and loving more. Be the best you you can be in 2015! Blessings to all of you, and thank you for a wonderful beginning and a wonderful year. I wish you a peaceful home, much love, a heart closer to God, and every need met.

I can definitely say on the last day of 2014, I am much stronger than I was on the first day. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned. It was God’s plan for me and I trust Him. 2015, here we come!

I would love to hear your comments and thank you again for reading! See you in 2015…

What Christmas Really Means…

 

Christmas is this week and my mind is on how my heart is feeling. So often we get so wrapped up in gifts and making everything perfect, we lose sight of why we are really celebrating. It’s Jesus’ birthday. It’s time for loving and giving. It doesn’t matter if it’s the exact day Jesus was born, but it is the day we celebrate it. 

As I reflect on the past year and all the heartache and joy that has come with it, I am reminded of the great blessings I have in my life. I am reminded of the great sorrow I have felt. I am reminded of the joy and peace that I have gained.

What Christmas really means.

Family Vacations are a must for continuing to love your job year after year. Family time is important, especially when you live at your job!

Christmas is about love.


Within the past two months I have lost two people who were very dear to my heart. Both were very young, within just 4 years younger or older than my age of 43. Both were not ill or expected to be lost so soon. There was shock. There was disappointment. There was great sorrow for those they left behind and how their lives would change. There was anger at the unfairness of it all. There was joy at the amazing and special ways they touched the lives of others. They were loved….deeply.

This year my only child graduated from college and moved away. I think about the great excitement I felt as I was moving out on my own for the first time. I think about the satisfaction of being on your own and taking care of yourself. I wonder what she is eating…or how she deals with washing her own clothes and stuff. I know she is determined and can do anything, but she’s my baby, I want to do it for her. I am more proud of her than I could ever put into words. She amazes me endlessly…

Christmas is about joy.

This year we fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing Niagara Falls. We took our daughter there for a graduation celebration. It was amazing, and the time spent together was irreplaceable.

This year was full of blessings in our garden. The kids and I learned so many valuable lessons and were blessed to be able to eat some healthy and delicious food. I learned to like a lot more healthy foods and taught some children and some adults to do the same. We gained so much health, physically and mentally from the experience of building and tending that little piece of heaven. I cannot even tell you what the garden does for my mental health!

This year we felt great sorrow as our Pastor of the past 18 years left our church. Change is so hard. But God has great things in store for their family as well as ours. He is moving on with his life and he and his wife are working toward their new goals. Our church merged with another church and we are learning and changing as we get to know a lot of new ways and new people. We have a different place in the church body, which is strange and interesting. It’s been difficult to adjust but I do trust that God has a plan for me and when He reveals it to me, I will walk through the doors He opens.

This year I lost some children at the age of moving on and I gained some new ones. Getting to know new people and missing the old ones is part of what I do here, but it never gets any easier for me. I am very blessed to have a wonderful group of families to provide care for. This job can be very difficult when you have difficult families to deal with every day. Many times it’s difficult to find people to work with who are the right fit. I am blessed beyond measure. I love that I love what I do every day.

This year I have continued to grow closer to my husband and best friend. He has supported me, helped me and loved me whether I was lovable or not. He has helped me become the person I am today and he has stood beside me through all these changes.

This year I have felt the love of my family. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have a family like mine, but I am grateful. I have learned how to be a better daughter, sister, sister in law, niece, cousin, and aunt than I was before. I am loved and I am blessed.

This year I have felt the love of my Savior even more than ever. He loves me immeasurably. He holds me in the palm of His hand. He is my God, my friend, my confidant, and I couldn’t live one day without His love.

I have felt more peace this Christmas than ever before. I have felt more loved. I have felt more love for others. I have been calmer. I have struggled less to be perfect and accepted that things are ok. I have been working hard to focus on what matters. My God, my family, and helping others. Other concerns seem to melt away.

What Christmas Means to Me

So what Christmas means to me today is the love I feel. It’s not about presents or making the tree perfect. It’s not about planning everything to the t. It’s not about being perfect or outdoing someone else. It’s about the love of a Savior who died for us, it’s about being close to the ones we love and showing them we care. It’s about kindness to a stranger, or helping someone who needs a hand up.

What can we do to help others during this time?

How about instead of spoiling our own kids with a ton of toys they don’t need, we take a little time and give to someone who has nothing. How about we take a few minutes out of our day to reach out to someone who is hurting or lonely? How about we show kindness to someone who isn’t kind?

What are some things you can think of to do to make someone’s life better? Can you volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at the homeless shelter? Can you fill up someone’s car with gas? Can you help a single mom give Christmas to her kids? Can you adopt an angel off the angel tree? Can you knit a stocking cap or quilt a blanket for someone who is cold? What about giving someone who is lonely a smile or a hug? We have plans to do some of these things and we are so excited! Tell me something you have done or are planning to do to share some holiday spirit this week? I would LOVE to hear about it!

Don’t forget to pin for later!

 

How to Find Peace in the Garden

The kids come back tomorrow. I’ve been off work for a 17 day vacation, the longest I’ve ever been off in my life. I’m searching for peace. Today is Memorial Day, so my mind is full of the chaos in my life right now and my great appreciation for those who gave their lives for my freedom.

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