Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Is A Place {2011 Edition}

This is a repost of my Thanksgiving post from last year.

It is the exact same way that I feel this Thanksgiving ~ only deeper.

So I thought it would be fitting to post it once again.......

After the year we have had I've found myself this November filled with gratitude on a new level.

And it doesn't have anything to do with turkey and cornbread dressing.

It doesn't have anything to do with Black Friday . 

And really nothing at all to do with rushing the next Holiday and attempting to get the tree up and decorated.

For me this year, Thanksgiving is a place.

It's a spiritual posture that I can walk in every, single day. 

Or not.

I don't need a big meal this year, where folks eat too much and then pass out for the rest of the day to prove how thankful I am. 

I want to be as thankful on a regular Monday as I am on actual Thanksgiving.

I love the Holidays.

I mean, I absolutely adore them.  But this year it's so different for me.

I've arrived at my destination and it's called Thanksgiving.

Where gratitude and attitude are the state and capital.

It is a place. And I'm resting in it this year. 

Knowing that the Father doesn't need me to host, cook or create a huge meal.

Knowing that He is interested in the condition of my heart and what's going on inside it more than how pretty the table is set or how good the pumpkin pie is going to be.

It isn't just a day for me this year. 

It is a place and I never want to leave.

No matter what happens in life. This is where I am taking up my permanent residence.

I want to rest in this place whether God provides simple daily "manna" or whether it's a year flowing with milk and honey. I have to. I've had to walk through many valleys so that I can teach my children what Thanksgiving really means out of a true and deep heart knowledge. 

Not just head knowledge.

And I've always been thankful. But this year, it's on an entirely different level.

It's a place inside that even though everything is not perfect....

It's okay. 

And even though things can be really difficult and really hard at times... 

It's okay. 

And even though God has allowed certain circumstances and situations that are pressing and crushing...

It's okay. 

I will praise Him and thank Him and trust Him in the midst of it all.

Because my heart has a new address this year......

2011 Thanksgiving Circle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Love And Pearls

Four years ago today I took a leap of faith and wrote my very first blog post.

I wasn't an expert.  But I felt led.

I didn't know a million things about the blog world.  But I felt a pull.

I didn't know a single soul in real life who blogged or a single soul in the blog world. But I felt prompted.

There were no pictures with that very first post. Only words.

These words.....

Nov. 15, 2007

An Attitude of Gratitude... I am thankful that God is so ever mindful of you and of me. My cup runneth over with gratitude as I sit in all humility and pour out from my heart about all that He has done in my life and the lives of those I love so much. My prayer is that it would inspire you, that it would stir you and that it would point you into a real relationship with the one who created you. Let this day be the beginning of something beautiful...

I can remember thinking to myself

Lord, I don't know what you are doing but if only one person reads this blog I pray that it blesses them.

I wanted it to be a place of blessing.

A place of encouragement.

A place that would point you to Him.

And in the process so many of you have been an encouragement to me over the years.

Thank you.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have taken the time to visit, to read, to comment, to email...

Thank you to each and every one of you who have shared your own journey with me.

What a privilege to be trusted with the pieces.

Thank you for allowing me the space to share my own pieces as well....both healed and broken.

I have counted the pages here as one of my greatest joys in life.

To be connected with each one of you.

To write.

To pray.

To encourage.

To share.

To listen......

And for that I am forever grateful.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

No Comparison


That thing that can tie us up in a bind and cause us to feel less than who He has created us to be.

That thing that causes us to shrink back, hold back and look back.

Invisible emotional and mental chains that bind us and paralyze us from walking with purpose.

It will keep us entangled.

And if we camp out in a state of comparison we dismiss who God created us to be.

We dismiss and miss all of the beautiful things in our own life.

Because when we are busy comparing, looking, measuring our own life up against someone else's
we will come up short every time.

The enemy is just waiting to are not enough. 

And He uses the tool of comparison to convince us of this lie.

Comparison ruins moments and events. 

It ruins friendships. 

It comes to tear down and destroy.

It breeds jealousy and insecurity and competition. 

It will absolutely destroy the spirit of the living God in us if we allow it.

Comparison will talk us right out of the amazing life we've been given.

Comparison creeps into our hearts and minds and can convince us that every one else has it better. And then before we know it, we have pulled away from friendships with those whom we seem to feel  "less than" around in life.

Or worse.

We never took the time to get to know someone at all.......

On the night before the first day of school this year I sat with my 8 year old and my 6 year old.  I wanted them to know how much He loves them and how unique and special they both are.  I also wanted to encourage them not to fall into comparison with others.

So I bought a pink measuring tape for her and a ruler for him and used it to demonstrate.

I then wrote on a separate piece of paper the following scripture and attached it to the measuring tape and then also wrote the same scripture on the back of the ruler.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 4:17-19.

I wanted them to have a tangible reminder ....

When we know in our hearts this incredible truth the lie of comparison loses all power.

To this day they each still carry the measuring tape and ruler in their backpacks.

I want my children to know early on the misery that comes when we open that door......

Maybe because I spent the first ten years of my oldest daughter's life as a single mother comparing myself to all the married moms.

In my early twenties with a baby on my hip I used to think, once I get married......

THEN I will be happy and whole just like everyone else.

Then I will be equal. 

Then I will be accepted.

What a lie.

Happiness is a heart song.

Wholeness, contentment and security are impossible apart from Him.

Whether we are married or single....

Once I was married comparison flowed into my life in new ways.

The Lord begin to speak to my heart on many levels and teach me about contentment and acceptance.

He did not create me to be like everyone else or to "fit in" with everyone else. 

He created me to fit with Him.

He had to teach me not to resent my testimony.  (That was a hard lesson.)

He had to teach me not to compare. (Harder still.)

Our testimonies are uniquely ours and the story He is writing in each one of us is to be embraced.

It is for our good and His glory......

So this weekend while you are busy with your blessings and your beautiful life.

I want to encourage you to stop into Target.

Go to the sewing aisle and pick up one pretty, pink measuring tape.

Take a bright marker and write across it over and over again.

There is no comparison.

There is no comparison.

There is no comparison.

Keep it with you at all times so that when comparison tries to creep in, you can shut it down.

Keep it with you until this truth is so saturated into your spirit you no longer need to look at it.

Because sweet friends...........

Nothing compares to His love for you.

Nothing compares to the way He created you.

Nothing compares to what He has called you to do in this life.

Nothing compares to your purpose and destiny.

Nothing compares to the magnitude of what He has set aside just for you.

Nothing compares to the fullness of His goodness and His graciousness toward you.

Nothing compares to His mercies toward you. To the depth of His forgiveness toward you.

Nothing compares to what He has in store for you.

Nothing compares to the spouse he is going to bless you with.

Nothing compares to the babies He is is going to entrust to you.

Nothing compares to the increase, the goodness and the blessings that are yours and yours alone.

Nothing compares to the way you walk and talk and look and laugh and think and create.

There isn't anyone like you in all of the world.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Knit together by the Creator in pure and total perfection....

May these truths settle down deep inside your heart and take root in your life in the most amazing ways and may you be ever mindful of the width and depth and length and height of His love for you.

Thank you to my beautiful friend Ashley for taking the time to hold my own personal pink measuring tapes and allowing me to photograph her for this blog post.

No one compares to you Ashley and to the many incredible gifts He has given you....

Beautiful. Compassionate. True. Genuine. Sincere. Refined. Redeemed. Renewed and Healed are you my wonderful friend.

Thank you for your love and friendship.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Goodies

Good Morning!

I hope you all are enjoying this incredible time of year!  I love, love, love fall!
I wanted to share a few of my fall favorites with you all. I do not normally do a post like this but thought I would branch out and write about some fragrant and delicious goodies today. I love all things home and especially anything seasonal!

Here are some of my personal favorites! You may notice that I have an unhealthy obsession for all things Williams and Sonoma:) I squeal with delight every single time I walk into that store!

Throw out everything else. It's over.  I can't stop cleaning with this!!
Williams Sonoma Winter Berry dish soap, countertop spray and hand soap.

The nutmeg grinder! I have used this in my coffee for years!  So good....

Cinnamon Stirrers and Mulling Spices. Another two of my all time favorites! I burn small amounts of the mulling spices on the stove and my entire house smells like WS within minutes. I give these away as gifts a lot during the holidays! 

This is the most fragrant fall candle I have found this year. It smells like caramel cake (which I will get to in a minute) and pumpkin muffins combined!  Found at Bath and Body Works.

The Honeycrisp apple.

It is like eating a dessert! So good and so good for you. My favorite treat this time of year! You can find them at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

My apologies for this tiny picture!! This is my all time favorite coffee ever. It is called Caramel Apple Nut . They only carry it this time of year! It is from Gloria Jean's Coffee and it will make you weak in the knees. I promise!

This is a close second! Also from Gloria Jean's. It makes my entire kitchen smell like a blueberry muffin bakery!

                                             My favorite cup and saucer from Anthro.

Caramel Cake. That is all.  My weakness this time of year!  This one is from Caroline's Cakes which I have heard wonderful things about!  I have my eye on this one to order for Thanksgiving.

This is my absolute favorite candle for the Christmas season. Nest "Holiday." I have been a "Nest" candle fan for years! All of their candles are incredible but this one is my personal favorite!

Hope you enjoy and my apologies for the size of some of the pictures!  Happy Fall!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Unraveling

                                                               Sarah and Jonathan

A turn of events have happened recently that have written things on my heart that I never expected.

Pieces of life that have now become part of my testimony.

Pieces of life that have unraveled me.

Sometimes He allows the unraveling when we least expect it.

I am one who likes ribbons and bows and packages all tied up with beautiful satin...

I like life packaged up all pretty.

But there is One who unravels.....

Who will cause us to come undone in the deep places.

Who unties in order to bring the breaking bring the increase.

Because in the breaking process He can have His way.

There are times when the breaking, the unraveling,  is almost unbearable.

And during these times we have the opportunity to offer up a sacrifice of praise.....

My beautiful friend Sarah is such an example.....

She is all kinds of amazing in every possible way and her heart overflows with the love of Christ.

She just lost her precious identical twin boys at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

I have had the honor of listening to my special friend share her experience.  I have heard the devastation, the sorrow and the praise unto Him in the midst of it all.

I heard the sacrifice of praise.

I heard the unraveling.....

The sound alone will cause you to come apart at the seams...

I want God to piece it all back together and I want those babies back in the arms of their Mother and Father who love them so much. I want their sorrow to turn to joy and their home to be filled with the four children they were planning on bringing up in the admonition of the Lord.

But God.

Sometimes He has a different plan.

Sometimes the breaking forth, the process, the undoing of our soul doesn't happen on Sunday morning sitting in a church pew.

Or in Sunday school.

Or while we are signing up for a missions opportunity.

I would say it rarely does.

It most likely happens in the midnight hour when we are alone with Him and there are circumstances and situations that have brought us to our knees.

It happens on a Tuesday, October 11 at 8:30 p.m. in the middle of a hospital room when you have to kiss your beloved twin boys goodbye .

John Wilson and David Casswell....

Twenty weeks of love.

Sweet Jesus.

"6 ounces and 11 ounces of sheer beauty. Perfect identical faces and every part totally whole."

Sometimes it happens in spite of the fact that you have made a space and a place in your home and your heart for two incredible gifts all the while giving God the glory.


Unbearable grief.

Our hearts are broken for this precious family.

There is a depth of sorrow and despair in life that at times we can share openly, allowing others the opportunity to be His hands and feet.  We can make ourselves available to receive an outpouring of love and support that one never imagined was possible.

And then there are times that we walk through grief, sorrow, loss and despair that cannot be shared and it can sometimes seem that we are walking through it completely alone.

We cannot compare pain or sorrow.

But I want to encourage you if you are walking through the unraveling at all....

Either public or private.

If you are experiencing grief or sorrow in any form,  He is there with you right now in spite of it all.

He is with you in the midnight hour and when life falls apart and it seems there isn't a soul you can trust.

If you are one who has lost in life in unimaginable ways, I want to encourage you that there is One who comforts unlike anyone else.

I want to encourage you if this is you right now, you do not have to walk through it alone. He will meet you right where you are and pour out an overwhelming healing love.

Just call on His name....

I promise you He will answer. Your names are written on the palm of His hand and He is ever mindful of you and yours.....

For Sarah....

Thank you for allowing me the honor to share pieces of your story.....

May the One who has called you to this place in life pour out His peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding and may He offer the Comforter, the sweet Holy Spirit, to you in the most beautiful ways. May you know the width and depth of His love on a new level through this difficult time my sweet friend.  May He bring about a recompense that cannot be measured and may the gift of your precious sons bring about much fruit.  You are a woman after His own heart Sarah. You are a woman who fears the Lord and who has been an earthly demonstration of His love to many.

I pray that every good and perfect gift be released for you and your family, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing in the days and weeks to come.

May He be glorified.

Love and Miracles to you my precious friend....

"But you Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from it's farthest regions, and said to you, You are my servant. I have chosen you and have not cast you away;
Fear not, For I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand. " Isaiah 41: 8-10