Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Life

Flowering forsythia branches from my garden.

Over the Easter weekend, I Spring-cleaned my garden.  As I pruned away dead branches and raked up old, dried-up leaves, I saw new life.  Fresh buds on branches. Baby plants starting to grow. Old plants coming back. 

New life everywhere in my garden!

As I worked in my garden, Easter Sunday was coming to an end.  It was a bright, sun-shining Resurrection Day afternoon... just perfect for gardening and getting lost in my own thoughts and reflection.

I reflected on our family's first practice of Lent, on how this Easter was somehow different than previous ones, on how I am more aware than ever before of grace-gifts, on how we can and should continue to live Easter after Resurrection Sunday, living this new life... not just during the 40 days right after {which marks the number of days from Easter Sunday to the Ascension, the same time length as Lent} but as a habit, for always... as people of the Resurrection, as Christ-followers!

I came to a happy and thankful realization, that by God's grace and solely, only because of Grace, our family already live like that!  Especially more so this year as we live out the verse from Micah 6:8 which God gave as our theme verse for 2011.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
And my prayer today is that God will continue to grow us, that our family will continue to live as Easter people, to discover more ways of unwrapping more of God's love in this world... not by our own strength, but by His grace alone.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Grace-Gifts

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven — and the future starts now! ~ 1 Peter 1:3-4 (The Message)
Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.  ~ John R.W. Stott
Counting grace-gifts, with a heart forever grateful for the ultimate Grace-gift given to us that day at Calvary... the day that changed the course of history!

#536 - #562
~ The stone is rolled away... Jesus is risen!
~ Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.
~ God's relentless love, never letting me go.
~ His peace, like a river.
~ Sweet Easter treats...
~ A simple dinner of bacon and eggs.
~ Hearty potato chicken soup for lunch.
~ Time to get everything done that needs to be done.
~ Reading an Easter devotional together as a family.
~ The robin who's been singing in my backyard every-day this week, and
~ The dew-dripping, budding tree branches on which it perches.
~ My girl's take on five loaves and two fish... beautiful!
~ Praying Proverbs 30:7-9... God is gracious to provide just enough, and
~ Shaun Groves' new song based on the above verses... called Enough.
~ Beating the Easter weekend grocery-shopping crowd. :-)
~ Reactine for my Spring allergies... it works!
~ Atypical work day... grace to get me through.
~ Long weekend...
~ The Cross... a blog post my girl has written for Easter.
~ Good Friday dinner with family.
~ My boy slowly recovering from his bout with a stomach bug.
~ Spring-cleaning my garden on this Easter weekend... seeing new life!
~ This awesome video of the song, Because He Lives.
~ Staying home with my boy on Easter Sunday... he's still not 100% better.
~ Hubby and my girl attending Easter Sunday service at church.
~ A different Easter...
~ Watched Soul Surfer with my girl... awesome story of faith!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Sunday!

Happy Resurrection Sunday, friends!
Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
~ John 1:29 (NASB)
For a second straight Sunday, I'm staying home from church.  Last Sunday it was because I wasn't feeling well.  Today, it is my boy's turn to be sick.  So... it is just him and me at home while hubby and my girl head to church.

This is actually the third day that I've been home with my boy... which translates to much time of quiet reflection for me as he sleeps and rests.  As I continue to reflect, I've come to the realization that this Easter has been, somehow, different for me.

There is an even deeper sense of gratitude in my soul for God's great love, for my Jesus' profound sacrifice, the ultimate Grace-gift, just for me... all stemming from an even deeper realization of my soul-wretchedness, my own great need for Grace... which is resulting in an even deeper desire to do thanksgiving, thanks-living, as a pouring-out of His radical, undeserved, relentless Love for me... goodness flowing out of me motivated by love and thanks, forever grateful!

This is a result of God's relentless love... pursuing, never letting go, especially over these past few years. God has taken our family on a wild ride.  In hindsight, I can now see the lessons He wanted to teach us.  Through the journey, He has led us to discover the simplicity of His ways, that good theology and good practice can go hand-in-hand, that balance is the key to obeying Him faithfully and serving Him well.

God has used this journey to bring us out of a faith family with a view that good theology will lead to good practice.  It was there {for almost fifteen years, as newly-weds and as we raised our very young children} where our family learned to be deeply rooted and grew in the Word of God, for which we are truly grateful.  He then led us to become part of a faith family with a view that good practice will lead to good theology.  It was there {for three years, as a young family} where our family's eyes were opened to the practice of doing faith, by doing good and serving others.

But God wasn't done with us yet.  Last Fall, He led us to the church we now call home.  Hubby and I sometimes joke that our new church is the marriage of our previous two churches!  It's true though... it is a place where we see both good theology and good practice held as equally important.  One doesn't lead to the other, both are forefront.

This church truly reflects what our family feels is most important in one's Christian walk... that is to be deeply rooted in Scripture and, at the same time, to be radically passionate about pouring out to others, thanks-living!  We are truly, truly, truly in awe that God, in His goodness and mercy, has graciously led us to this church.

We are anticipating the great and wonderful things that He has in store for us at this leg of our journey.  In fact, it has already started... we are excitedly planning our family's very first mission trip.  We are headed to the Philippines this Summer!  Plus, my girl has applied to be part of a Summer missions team with our church's youth... where they will experience going beyond "simply talking about compassionate living to actually rolling up their sleeves and digging right in." 

This has indeed been a different Easter, for sure.  I am amazed at His amazing grace!
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

~ Words by John Newton, 1779.  Last stanza by an unknown author, 1829.
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sunday's Coming!

... and life is worth the living just because HE LIVES!

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar as you watch this video.


Sunday's coming!!!
Like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, we sit opposite Your tomb, and we never leave, but live here. For continually we bury our sins, and, as surely as we breathe, we inhale the hope of what will happen at this tomb on Resurrection Sunday. In the name of Him who went to the depths for us...
~ Day 16, Trail to the Tree by Ann Morton Voskamp
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Only By Grace...

On this Thursday before the Easter weekend, a song from my younger years has suddenly entered my mind.  I can't stop singing it...
♪ ♫ Only by Grace can we enter
Only be Grace can we stand
Not by our human endeavour
But by the blood of the Lamb ♫ ♪
Earlier this morning, my Easter reflection took me to a place I've never been before... what if Christ decided not to go ahead with The Cross?  Wow, I just couldn't bear the thought!!!

Because of grace, He did go ahead with The Cross.
For you.  For me.  For humanity.
For God so loved... He gave.
The hope of glory.

I am forever grateful.
I am forever changed.
I am forever free.

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar as you watch this video.

Only by grace can we enter
Only by grace can we stand
Not by our human endeavour
But by the blood of the Lamb
Into Your presence You call us
You call us to come
Into Your presence You draw us
And now by Your grace we come
Now by Your grace we come

Lord, if You mark our transgressions
Who would stand?
Thanks to Your grace we are cleansed
By the blood of the Lamb

By: Integrity Hosanna! Music, 1989
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Week Leading Up To Easter

This week is a short work-week as we head into the Easter weekend.  The kids even get Easter Monday off school!

There are hints here and there in our household that Easter is just around the corner... the practice of Lent, colourful chocolate eggs, Easter-themed sugar cookies, a bird thawing in the fridge, plans to attend Good Friday service, Easter devotions, hot cross buns...

As I sit here on this cloudy and rainy Wednesday morning contemplating my grocery list for the Easter weekend, I reflect on The Reason we celebrate Easter!  Such great Love... what a truly awesome Grace-gift!  God's relentless Love that never lets us go!  Jesus...

Our family's reading of Ann Voskamp's Trail to the Tree is drawing to a close.  It has truly helped us to reflect {even more} on the Easter narrative.  My son wants to be the one to read the devotions each night and my daughter wrote about her reflection of Day 10's reading from Matthew 14:13-21 entitled Broken and Multiplied.

As we reflect, we learn, we remember, we live...

I love the prayer from Day 11: Upside Down Kingdom...
Father God, You bless.  It is the essence of who You are, the God who so love, He gave... And You bless with all manner of goodness and happiness, when we follow Your counter-culture, radical ways.  Before His crucifixion, Your Son answered the interrogating Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world."  Jesus' sermon on the Mount not only testifies to this truth, but invites us into His Kingdom too.  Father, we gather around You and ask You to teach us how to live as Your citizens.  Citizens of the upside-down kingdom.
This is my prayer this Easter... that our family may live as those who are poor, as those who mourn, as those who are humble, who hunger and thirst for justice, who are merciful, whose hearts are pure, who work for peace, who are persecuted for doing right... for God blesses this counter-culture, radical way of living.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Unending Grace

And I want to live out of the overflow
Cause deep in my heart I know
Your love is all I need
And I want to shine with radiance deep inside
Reflecting compassion and Your grace
For all to see Your love in me
~ from the song Overflow, by Sarah Walker.
With a grateful heart for unending grace...

#521 - #535
~ Sprouting crocuses... purple and yellow.
~ Singing song-birds.
~ A warm Spring breeze.
~ Store-made sausages from the neighbourhood butcher shop.
~ My blooming orchid plant.
~ My kids shooting hoops outside... it's finally warm enough!
~ Winter tires coming off this week!
~ Democracy.
~ An awesome family doctor.  We love her!
~ Carpools.
~ Bills to pay... and,
~ God's provision to pay them!
~ My girl's beautiful heart!
~ Local farmers... and their CSA programme!
~ Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On This Palm Sunday Morning...

... I am left here at home while hubby and the kids went to church.  I am feeling weak from a bout of stomach pain which struck me in the wee hours of this morning.  So, I felt it was best that I stayed home from church and concentrate on getting better!

After listening to our teaching pastor online, there is nothing more to do but read and blog --- the two activities that are at the top of my relaxing-things-to-do list!  I am currently reading Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity.  Believe it or not, I am looking out my window right now and I see snow flakes falling on this cold mid-April morning!  Seems like Winter decided to make a come-back?!?  It is definitely the kind of day to be indoors, keeping warm, curled up reading a book {and blogging, too!}... so I'm not complaining a wee bit that I'm stuck at home today! :-)

So... Palm Sunday.  Exactly one week to Resurrection Sunday!  It also means one week left in our family's very first practice of Lent!  I've said this before... but I will say it again, I can not believe that we've come this far and have not broken our fast from eating out or buying take-out during this season of Lent!  This practice has meant that I've been cooking many meals...

About six months ago or so, my eyes became open to the practice of buying responsibly when it comes to food that we consume as a family.  This has led us to eat better and healthier.  The meals I make have been from scratch using, as much as I can, non-processed local food ingredients.

Of course, during this season of Lent, upon eliminating restaurant meals and take-out food, setting aside time for meal preparation every single day has been key for me.  It has taken a lot of planning and discipline on my part.  I am happy to say that I think, {I hope} daily meal preparation has now become a normality for me.  Definitely a good thing!  I could not believe that we didn't do this sooner... because it is totally doable, plus it is obviously the healthier choice for our family, not to mention cheaper!

So, back to the reason why I paused my reading to do this blog post. Chapter 7 of Organized Simplicity is entitled Savor the Little Things.  One of the sections in this chapter is called Cooking From Scratch which, of course, caught my attention since I've been doing just that over these past six months, and more extensively over these last six weeks.  Here are some quotes from this chapter:
A home that nourishes life embraces the little moments and appreciates the rhythmic season of life, including the time necessary to cook real food from scratch. 

The payoffs are astronomical - better health, good stewardship of our environment, and setting a good example for our children are just a few of the benefits. 

If you are too busy to cook from scratch, then I argue that you're too busy, period.  Reevaluate your priorities and commitments.  If you want to live a healthy, long life and to pass the same luxury on to your children, then you must take the time to cook real food.
When we make something versus buying it, we're aware of how much time and energy went into the production of it, which makes us more mindful of the purchases we do make.  So it does slow us down, but in really wonderful ways, I believe.

Make your home a place where you can slow down.  Don't just wish for it and watch with helplessness as your kids grow by the minute.  Choose now to make your home a haven that can serve your family's desires and dreams, and don't waste any more time enslaving yourselves as its servant.  Life it too short to miss out on the little things.
Words of wisdom!  Words I am glad to have read today... encouraging me to stay on track!  Speaking of which, it's time to plan this upcoming week's meals.  Happy Palm Sunday, everyone!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hair Donation and Japan Relief

This week, our family continues the practice of unwrapping more of His love in this world.  It's been an eventful week, to say the least!

First of all, Walk with the Wizard for Japan Relief at my kids' school!  After my girl's participation in the Public Speaking contest a couple of weeks ago where she spoke about lighting a candle for global poverty, her principal asked her if she would like to help him organize a fundraising event at school as a benefit towards Japan Relief.  My girl, of course, eagerly said, "Yes!"

I am so awed by this grace-gift... my girl's compassionate heart, but also the fact that it shines in such a way that her principal is able to recognize her giving spirit!  With a thankful heart for this grace-gift, our family promised a matching donation to go towards Japan Relief in partnership with the school.  We are truly humbled by God's grace as He continues to work in the life of our family this year... breaking our family's heart for the things that break His heart!

So... the school's mascot is a wizard, hence the event name Walk with the Wizard.  Yesterday was the day!  Each class participated in a 20-minute walk around the track in the neighbourhood park.  Each student was encouraged to bring in their spare change to donate!

My girl came home at the end of the school day excitedly announcing that the school collectively raised, together with the matching donation, a total of just over $1350.00!!!  Wow, that is just totally awesome!

As if that's not enough excitement for one day, I had to add another exciting event to it!  Well, I took the plunge and did a hair donation!!!  For more information on hair donation, please visit the Beautiful Lengths website.

Here are before and after photos:


I've been growing my hair for a couple of years now in preparation for this.  My inspiration?  It is none other than --- my girl!  She's done it twice before and is preparing to do it for a third time this summer, after her graduation!  Didn't I already say that God has truly given her a special heart?  :-)

Here are photos of her two hair donations...

First Hair Donation, June 2007

Second Hair Donation, Summer 2009

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dancing Their Shoes Off!

Heart-warming video!  Make sure you watch until the end.  Enjoy... may this inspire you as it did me!  Happy Thursday, everyone!

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar as you watch the video.

"You're far happier giving than getting." ~ Acts 20:35 {The Message} 

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

... in my garden!
Look, the winter is past,
      and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
      the season of singing birds has come,
      and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
      and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
~ Song of Solomon 2: 11-13 (NLT)



Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just Like New!

I just realized that I haven't posted photos of the my newly-renovated laundry room!  It's just like new... I love it!  Here are a couple of photos...



Doing laundry is all-of-a-sudden a fun chore! :-)
 
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Half-Way Mark...

This week's grace-gifts includes the half-way point, gift #500, towards my counting of One Thousand Gifts! Humbled. Awed. Grateful.

Today I am reflecting... about the time when I started counting grace-gifts almost exactly six months ago this week, how my heart was in bad shape!  I will forever be grateful that through this practice of counting grace-gifts, God has helped me to turn a corner.  It has been good, no, not just good, it has been an awesome experience of truly seeing God!  
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That's why it's called The Present!" ~ Author Unknown.
With a grateful heart for The Present, the count continues with...

#498 - #520
~ Ann Voskamp's words on her blog... which led me to start counting grace-gifts.
~ My Heavenly Father, who never lets me go!
~ Overflow by Sarah Walker... ♫ "Unending grace is pouring over me." ♫
~ Putting train tracks together for my little almost-3-year-old nephew!
~ Taking 'train requests' from him for his birthday. :-)
~ Drinks from the bubble tea shop with my girl.
~ Late-night outing to Wal-Mart with hubby.
~ New piano book for my girl... sign of progress. :-)
~ An honest UPS delivery man!
~ An Orange Julius smoothie for my boy.
~ Holding my boy's hand... rare these days!
~ My hubby... his hard-work ethic and conscientiousness.
~ My kids fixing their own breakfasts... so I can sleep a bit longer.
~ Smooth-sailing work day.
~ A sale on airfare {for our Asia trip this Summer} saving us $1200! Wow! :-)
~ Excitement... as we start to plan for the visit with our Compassion daughter!
~ My girl applying to join a Summer compassion trip with our church's youth!
~ Brunch with my sisters and their families.
~ A get-together with old friends over pizza!
~ Encouraging a friend going through losses... a hard eucharisteo, for sure!
~ Learning lots from Sunday morning teachings at church, and...
~ For a church that practices compassion!
~ A lazy Sunday afternoon at home {with my pajamas on already}.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Ram in the Thicket

We choose to walk in faith, knowing that there is a Ram in the thicket. And His name is Jesus. 
~ from Day 2 of Trail to the Tree by Ann Morton Voskamp.
Our family is blessed to be reading through this free 17-day Easter resource!  We are currently on Day 3, timing our readings to end on Easter Sunday with Day 17.  To receive your own copy of Trail to the Tree, please visit this blog post by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience.

God provided a ram in the thicket for our family this week.  We have been praying about a missions trip that our family would take on our own to a third world country this Summer.  We explored going to Brazil where we have friends who are missionaries there or to Haiti but those plans didn't materialize.

So, we considered the idea of going to the Philippines... for several reasons, one of which is that we wanted to show our kids where both hubby and I were born and raised.

We also have a Compassion daughter there that we would love to visit.  We could also visit the community where the children whom we are helping to send to school live.  We could maybe even witness Operation Christmas Child shoe-boxes being delivered to their recipients!!!  And... our kids would be able to see with their own eyes the realities of how people live in a third world country --- the very reason why hubby and I wanted to do this family missions trip in the first place!

But, there was one slight road-block... the cost of airfare!  It takes more-than-a-few-dollars for a family of four to travel from Canada to Asia... well, actually it takes a lot of dollars!!! :-)

So... as we started planning, I also started praying.

Last weekend, my sister-in-law told me that airfares to the Philippines with stop-overs in Japan are "on sale" on Expedia due to decreased demand for these flights because of the unstable conditions in Japan after the earthquake.  While the price-tag was oh-so-tempting, I wasn't sure about buying our tickets online and I was even more wary of the idea of passing through Japan in light of the after-shocks that they are still experiencing and the unstable situation with the nuclear power plants.

So... I kept praying, this time more specifically.  I prayed that if it is God's will for us to go to the Philippines, that He would provide airfares comparable to the ones I saw on Expedia but for flights that don't have to stop-over in Japan.

This past Thursday, I felt a prompting to "pop-in" to a travel agent's office.  I've never been there before, nor do I know anyone who works there.  Someone just recommended them to me in passing a few months ago.

So... off we went, hubby and I... not really expecting to find any deals.

We talked to the first person we saw as we walked in the door.  I asked for flights not passing through Japan.  Her response?  "I have an airline with a sale going on right now and the sale ends tomorrow!"  I thought, "Wow, perfect timing that we came today!"  But I was still skeptical as I know the airline she was talking about is the one that costs a lot of dollars!!!

When she told me the price quote, I couldn't believe what I heard!  The quote was Expedia price, but for flights not passing through Japan.  A savings of $1200 for our family of four... our ram in the thicket!  God had provided an answer to my prayers!!!

{Side Note} I called another travel agency just to compare prices.  I asked for the same tickets for the same date... and they weren't on sale there!

Needless to say, hubby and I took that as a sign from God... and we bought the tickets the very next day!!!  So surreal... we are going on our family missions trip! So, so, so excited! 

It's going to be an adventure, a God-sized adventure.  I know it!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lent Lessons...

As you may have read here on my blog, our family is practicing Lent {for the first time} this year!  We are at the four-week mark today... and honestly, it has surprised me that we even came this far!!!  You see, our family has given up eating out for the whole season of Lent {including Sundays} and using the same amount of money to send six under-privileged Filipino children to school for one whole year!

So... why does it surprise me that we even came this far?  Well, one simple answer: I don't like to cook!  It's a norm for us to eat out or buy take-out food at least twice on a normal week.  On busy weeks, well... let's not even say how many times we do that! :-) 

This morning, my thoughts went to the Scripture verses from Matthew 11:29-30 (NLT), and they say:
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
I had a "eureka moment" as these verses penetrated my heart!  Following God and doing His will should be naturally restful for the soul, for His yoke is easy to bear and the burden He gives is light!

That's why this whole experience of practicing Lent has been so fulfilling!  Don't get me wrong --- it has definitely required a tremendous amount of discipline, hard-work and self-control for our family, but it has definitely grown us in unexpected ways, in God-ways!  

For me, personally, it has been a great season of experiencing God's unforced rhythms of grace, not just in the area of making dinner, but in many aspects of life as well.

In decisions, big or small. In planning for the future, near or far. In daily living, routine or out-of-the-ordinary.  

Yes, our family is pleasantly surprised at the lessons that practicing Lent has taught us!  It has emphasized for us what it means to be a family who lives out Micah 6:8... here's what those verses say in The Message:
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.
And, there's one more thing we are planning to do as a family during Lent.  It is to go through a 17-day Easter devotional called Trail to the Tree by Ann Voskamp.  I am so thankful for this free resource, a grace-gift!  To get a copy for your family, please visit this blog post at A Holy Experience.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Hunt for Grace-Gifts

Today I start with One Thousand Gifts, #474, and it is the very words from these Scripture verses...
"Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that's nothing compared to what's coming, for you've also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You've done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are—out of your very heart!—but you've let me in on it.

~ King David's Prayer, from 2 Samuel 7:18-21 (The Message)
This hunt for grace-gifts... it is life-changing, it is addicting {in a good way!}, it is wonderful!  And, so the hunt continues with...

#475 - #497
~ God's abundant provision.
~ Sunshine... all. week. long. :-)
~ Budding shrubs.
~ The mission and ministry of Habitat for Humanity... and,
~ The opportunity for us to be a part of it.
~ That my Jesus brought me from darkness to light!
~ Michael W. Smith's song, Be Lifted High.
~ Sunshine streaming into my kitchen as I make dinner.
~ Plans to visit our Compassion daughter this summer are in progress!
~ His strength helping me get through busy days...
~ My boy's LEGO Mindstorm team gelling together better.
~ Watching my girl play basketball!  I love it!
~ Dinner guests... two nights in a row!
~ A sleepover.
~ Heart chats with a dear friend.
~ Prayers for a friend going through a tough life-season.
~ Opportunity to help friend {mentioned above}.
~ Hubby's Saturday morning pancakes.
~ A lazy Saturday...
~ Donations to Goodwill.
~ A bag of hand-me-downs for a friend.
~ My boy and his friend shooting hoops on our driveway.
~ Hubby's home-made chai tea latte. Yum!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today At Church...

Our teaching pastor talked about... how we can best serve God and advance His Gospel in this life.  My train of thought has been along the same lines this past week as I pondered upon how to live a life fully surrendered to God's ways.  Hmmm... do you think God might be trying to impress something upon my heart and mind?  I think so! :-)

I think it's awesome when this happens... when He's been speaking to me about something during the week and at church on Sunday, I hear the same thing being shared and taught!

We also sang the song Overflow by Sarah WalkerMy girl loves this song... the lyrics particularly spoke to me this morning.  Here's a widget where you can have a listen to the song as well:

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you listen to the song.

Overflow ~ by Sarah Walker

Relentless love is always finding me
And even in my brokenness you meet with me
Amazing peace is flowing deep in me
Like endless streams you lead me there
And comfort me

And I want to live out of the overflow
Cause deep in my heart I know
Your love is all I need
And I want to shine with radiance deep inside
Reflecting compassion and your grace
For all to see your love in me

Unending grace is pouring over me
You cover all my sin and shame redeeming me
Your hand of truth is right here guiding me
You're always leading me back home
With mercy

And I will live what I believe 
And give from what you've given me
Amazing grace
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Arms High and Heart Abandoned

April already!  Despite the saying "April showers... May flowers," we actually had a warm and lovely, sun-shining April day today.  What a wondrous Spring Saturday this has turned out to be!

We started off with a lazy Saturday morning.  My boy had a buddy sleep-over here last night and they were shooting hoops outside on the driveway.  I stayed inside... in my cozy pajamas until noon-time!  After lunch, hubby and I head out to the grocery store.  During our short drive, the song The Stand by Michael W. Smith came on... simple words, yet profound.
♪♫ I'll stand... with arms high and heart abandoned.  In awe of the One who gave it all.  I'll stand... my soul, Lord, to You surrendered.  All I am is Yours. ♫♪
I found myself thinking... reflecting {especially during this season leading up to Easter}.  Do I really stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of Him who gave me all?  Do I really stand with my soul surrendered, giving Him my all?

Coincidentally, my friend and I were chatting about this very thing last night.  How do we live life fully surrendered to God's ways?

Great soul-searching questions to ponder upon... not only during this Easter season but for always! 

The Stand by Michael W. Smith
{Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.}


This is my prayer... with arms high and heart abandoned!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!