Friday, January 28, 2011

Truly a Treasure

For those who follow my blog regularly, you know that we have spent the last 2 months in transition; packing, moving, and re-settling after 11 years in our home.

This process has not been easy, but we feel blessed to see God's hand through it all.  One glimpse of His touch came through an opportunity I took to be part of a new group called, The Gabby Moms.  As part of this group I have a chance to review products from a mom that is near and dear to my heart, Lorrie Flem and her publication, Eternal Encouragement Magazine (formally known as TEACH).

My first assignment arrived in late December as my packing went into full swing and the BIG MOVE began to encroach.  Spare time was seldom possible and often found in a mentally and physically exhausted state.  I felt discouraged and challenged and I knew the enemy was trying to derail my peace and direction as we stepped out in faith to do God's work and go where He was calling us.

Isn't that how it usually is though?  We answer God's call and just as quickly, satan steps in to try and trip us up.

I needed encouragement... I needed peace...So it was decided...each time I sat down for a break, each time we stopped working for the day, each time I could spare a minute... my "assignment" was in my hands.  As a result, I found the book and assortment of articles and authors in, "True Treasures; 10 Years of TEACH Magazine" truly becoming a treasure as I faced this challenging transition.

I quickly realized, with my scattered reading schedule, in order to properly relay my thoughts I would need to ear mark all of the profound nuggets as I came across them... and I came across many.  My biggest challenge was keeping track of my post-its!

My hope began to be restored as God used the pages of True Treasures to speak into my life.

From the first article God spoke to me of our focus in the new home we were moving to.  He used Isaiah 64:8 to tell me, "And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand."  Lorrie expounded on this passage, encouraging me to embrace the process of molding and worry not about the purpose we are molded for!

As January and the new year unfolded, I unpacked and worked at re-settling in a smaller space.  The stacks of boxes and piles of 'stuff' were daunting at times.  How could I find a place for it all?  Lorrie's words inspired me to relax and marvel in the process (p. 63)
When unpacking was completed, organization came next.  What routines could we set up, where to start, how to start in this new place???  I haven't had to do a complete over-haul of routines as the result of a new environment in 11 years.  I almost felt like I had forgotten how!  Not to mention, this isn't even my home... it is someone else's hospitality and environment I need to work through.  Enter chapter four, "Homemaking that Dazzles Like Diamonds".

Here I was reminded that I am not alone.  My Creator is with me.  I was encouraged by scripture and by the honest professions that, hey... we can't  do it all... even if we tried!

My mission to settle in and move forward took on a whole new light when I embraced the idea that my job was to "make our home a little picture of God's big picture."  After all, we feel we are called here to 'shine our light'!

Then came the marital challenges.  The differences between my husband and I and how we approach things.  The lack of privacy in the new place and the stress of some BIG changes on the horizon.  But what can I do when he growls?

As I stole my moments away with this book, God used the bulk of chapter 2, "Marriages of Solid Gold" to reveal to me the true value of a devoted wife and "helpmeet".  Article after article showed me that all spouses have their differences, but it isn't the differences that define them... rather their relationship with and desire to please Christ.

I was able, for the first time, to stop and truly listen to my husband.  To ask the questions that showed him I cared.  To gain an understanding which could lead me to become a more compassionate wife and devoted prayer warrior for the concerns of his heart... rather than the concerns of my heart for him!  As a result, I find myself more tenderly connected to this man I love and I feel a new accountability to him and our relationship in Christ!

Thank you TEACH!

But the one article to tie it all together came when reading, "This Too Shall Pass" by Amy O'Quinn.  How often have we heard those words?  How often do we take them for granted?  But the fact is; when the kids get playdoh stuck in the carpet you just cleaned, homeschool flopped for the day because you overslept and got a late start, dinner is burnt and your husband is looking at you like you're some kind of crazy woman as you cry over spilled juice.... "this too shall pass".  When we embrace that simple four word saying and a trust in our Heavenly Father to train and teach us through all these tiny situations.... we can have peace!

I could no sooner pick a favorite or most inspiring article out of the six chapters, 101 pages, of this book than I could find just one star in the sky that shines more beautifully than another.  From homeschooling tips to homemaking tips... advice for moms and parenting... and yes, even marriage... "" is truly a TREASURE worth reading and storing in our hearts!

May God bless you today with true treasures of encouragement.

* If you would like to own the book, "True Treasures; 10 Years of Teach Magazine" you can purchase it by following this link to the "Library" at Eternal Encouragement Magazine (Formally known as TEACH).  Use coupon code GabbyMom to receive $4 off your purchase of "True Treasures" if you order before May 31, 2011.

You can learn more about Eternal Encouragement Magazine and other great products from Lorrie Flem by visiting her home page at  

I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program.  all opinions expressed are solely my own.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I want to be like Jesus!

I love the above picture.  My husband has been on a hunt for the perfect snowflake picture and this comes pretty close!

Snowflakes are a wonderful reminder of God's attention to detail.  He doesn't miss anything!  Much like a man I met today!

The kids and I went on an outing.  One stop took us to the grocery store around lunch time.  With children in tow and on a mission (tortilla chips are best with dip!) an elderly gentleman stopped me in the deli isle to ask a question,

"You homeschool, don't you?"

Naturally I responded in the affirmative.  A glint of a smile spread across his lips as he said, "I think that is just wonderful, God Bless you!"

I was surprised, but more so, I truly felt blessed.  I thanked him with a genuine smile as he responded in kind, beginning to beam at what seemed to be a treat for him.  The joy of the Lord filled my heart and brought me peace. 

When I told my husband about it later on, my oldest daughter perked up and said, "That man reminded me of Jesus."  Why yes... yes he did!  Shouldn't we all remind others of Jesus?

God bless this mystery man and his wonderful compliment.  May you find equally gratifying blessings today and may your heart shine forth in such a way that makes others say, "That person reminds me of Jesus."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Astonishing Truths

I forgot how busy our days can get when we devote ourselves to a full school schedule.  It has been refreshing to be back on course though.

We began Tuesday with our morning math and language arts.  The new novelty is the large park only a few blocks away... recess was an adventure!  ((And I left the camera at home!!!! erg))

Our afternoons are sloooowly settling.  We actually got to some science today and here I must stop and praise God for church friends and the A-Beka curriculum for science.

 I have never purchased full curriculum... to pricey.  Also, I like to think I can do it all.  However, as my kids get older and we step farther into our calling as missionaries, I have begun to wish and pray for a good curriculum where all I have to do is review the lessons (prepare), present the material (teach), and help with work and questions (tutor).  But still... it is pricey!

Enter a wonderful couple from church.  They homeschooled both of their sons with the full A Beka curriculum.  Both children are now full grown men with jobs and one of them got married this summer... they approached me after church one day and asked if I wanted it!  ENTIRE textbook sets for all subjects from 9th through 12th with some text books from 7th and 8th .  I was speechless.

There are no workbooks, but the texts are a fine start!  (I have a request out to A Beka for their catalog so I can see how much consumables are)

Why am I taking time to brag on this company and the way in which God used a couple from church to bless me?  Because the blessings keep coming. 

Today, Ashley and I were going through the chapter on the human body.  At one point I felt like I had transitioned from a middle school text book to a cozy room in a church bible study!  When a SCIENCE text book tells you, "but Science and Physics can't explain the spirit and the soul", when it goes on to quote 2 Corinthians and ask you to compare and contrast Paul's words regarding the church and the body... you know you have found a gem!

I know there are other great, biblically based science textbooks out there.  But I had to share how my spirit was blessed today by this one!

May you revel in simple blessings of astonishing truths today!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"All Aboard!"

I signed up to start doing reviews for a woman and magazine that I absolutely admire... the woman is Lorrie Flem and the Magazine is TEACH

My first review isn't until next week and I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I can say that, as I have unpacked and resettled into this new environment, God has used TEACH to truly inspire me. 

It isn't easy living under someone else's roof when, for 19 years I have been completely independent.  Ok, maybe not completely.... I have been blessed with a darling husband for most of those years!  But I have always determined where things go, how things run, and when the goings-on of a house happen. 

This is strange.  Very humbling.

Lately TEACH has prompted me to really think about my relationships and how I approach people in my life... especially my husband.  I can tell you that God and I spent some serious time together on Saturday.  I had to drive around the block to find seclusion. He held me as I cried.  He listened as I poured out my heart.  And He answered when my sobs finally grew silent. 

God reminded me that life isn't about me.  It isn't about human effort or anything we can obtain.  It is more about humility in adversity.  It is about sacrificing of ourselves in order for God to be glorified in the moment.  I was reminded...

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

He spoke to me simply and said, "are you really praying about EVERYTHING?"  God can give us strength through the small trials and the large.  It doesn't matter what the situation is, even something as simple as, "God, please help me to speak with love" (When I truly want to yell in anger!)  He showed me where I was more concerned with my human efforts and the results of those, than with what HE can and wants to do through me and submitting completely to His cause.

I am becoming like a steam locomotive now.  No longer slowly chugging to pull away from in front of the station, spinning wheels as I work with great effort to pull forward.  I am finally picking up momentum and while my  pressure  is not quite steady, the rhythm is developing and I feel confident that with God's grace.... and much prayer, my journey in this new place will soon be underway.  All I will have to do is enjoy the scenery!

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

May you find momentum in Christ today as you pray through your travels (and challenges) in life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm BACK!!

We finally transitioned 11 years and 6 people out of our home.  It was a tearful yet exciting departure.  Contemplating all of the memories while looking ahead to all the possibilities God is drawing us towards... it was hard to stay sad!

Our last day of major moving and cleaning provided an opportunity to view just one more of God's beautiful creations from our window:

We will miss the lovely vistas we have enjoyed right from our living room window...

We will also miss the sled hill in our back yard...

 ... and building snowmen for neighbors who need them :-)

Even though these winter pleasures won't be right out our door... they are still close.  We live only a few blocks away from one of the nicest parks in town (which also contains a VERY nice sled hill AND ice rink!).  I won't have to explain to the kids all the time why we can't go to the park with the swings and slide 'today'... and I hope to go often so as to get some exercise myself!  

But even more than these simple treats are the eternal rewards we see becoming possible.  The opportunities to minister in a larger community while exposing our children to more diverse experiences fill us with excitement and anticipation.  

May you find excitement and anticipation in the transitions of your life this year!