Throw Back Thursday ~ Halloween Edition

This is my all time favorite picture taking at Halloween. It just makes me laugh.

Ode to the old movies!

We used to get good use out of costumes and they would be worn for months and months after the big night. One year Sam was Spider Man and as you can see in the following photo Claire put her own twist on the ensemble and became Spider Girl. Please note the shoes and the jean jacket…the child has always been into accessorizing.

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I love pictures of Rob with the kids but there is something particularly sweet to me when I come across pictures of him and Sam. The Bat Man devotion is still strong between the two of them. (Even though we all know IronMan is the best.) Pretty sure Sam’s hat came from a trip to the circus and this was not even taken in the month of October but it fit the dress up theme of the post and I love it.

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Think On These Things

Blessings for Obedience

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.

Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.

And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.

And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.

The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 

~Deuteronomy 28:1–14

Happy birthday to the one whom my soul loves. May the Lord continue to bless you with obedience and faithfulness.

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Think On These Things

The LORD Our God Is Holy

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!

The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.

Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.

In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.

O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!

                                                                                                                                       ~Psalm 99

 

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Monday Musings

When were kids my oldest sister was the crafty creative one then as we all became adults I became the one who takes pictures and blogs, plans parties and decorates, etc. (She still gets really great ideas and can find all the parts and pieces to make things happen. It’s her gift, really.)

But recently our little sister has had the opportunity to do some writing for a women’s ministry that she is involved in and one post she shared stayed in my head and kept me thinking so I am going to piggyback on what she was talking about for a few minutes.

In her devotion she was addressing this idea in our culture of female empowerment, the constant bombardment of equality for women that disregards the true power we have in favor of the pseudo power the world would have us believe is more and better. She reminded her readers that we were designed with a purpose, formed by a rib being taken from man’s side to be his helper. She went on to explain the duties and functions of our actual ribs:

Anatomically speaking, ribs are connected to the spine. This gives strength and power to them. They are an essential connection to the very core that holds a person up. They are there to uplift. They come around and protect the heart and lungs, blood and oxygen.

We can’t survive without them. The ribs guard those inmost, core parts and protect them from harm. In this way, we are to guard our loved ones, protect them, and ensure that they have what they need to live. Ribs are small but strong bones, they may bruise but they are not easy to break. 

Toni Marie made a beautiful connection from the physical description to the spiritual. We uplift. We protect.

But did you know that ribs can pop out of place? Two weeks ago I started noticing a discomfort in my back when I moved a certain way or tried to breath too deeply. It was hard to put my finder on and explain what the exact problem was but it just felt off, not right. Turns out one of my ribs had moved out of place. Thankfully I already had an appointment scheduled with the chiropractor who found the problem, popped it back into place, and straightened me out.

Reading my sister’s words on the heels of that experience showed me how easy it is for us as women to become disjointed. We let ungratefulness, a bad attitude, bitterness, selfishness, or unforgiveness push us out of place and instead of uplifting or protecting those around us we become that dull discomfort that they try to live with and around or that sharp pain that becomes a hindrance that keeps them from doing and being what they were made to do and be.

Thankfully, the fix is just as quick as the chiropractor popping my actual rib back into place. When we confess the sinfulness that has us out of place with the body, be it in our marriage or relationships with our children, or at church, wherever it is,  the Great Physician promises to forgive us, to heal and restore us. He puts us back into our place and we are able to do that which we were made for.

That, in and of itself, is reason to rejoice.

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A Throwback Thursday Post

When I did that amazingly easy merge of my previous blog to this blog the process brought all of the old pictures with it. Amidst all of the spot the grammatical errors through the years chagrin I was delighted to see some old pictures. Today I am going to share a few just for fun.

First up…Claire wearing a red wig, a cowboy hat, and a whole lotta sass. We no longer have the wig or the hat but she still has all that sass.

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The three oldest when they were a whole lot closer in height than they are now. They were having a race on the beach and if I remember correctly it was New Year’s Day and we were visiting friends who had a beach condo.

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Oh my goodness, this makes me laugh! I still remember Claire running up to me, “Mama, did you see that funny face I made?!” It has always been, and still is, very difficult to get a good group shot of my offspring. But at least we I have ones like this to love.

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One of my absolute favorites of the girls!

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And one of my all time favorite sessions with Abby. She and I had such fun that day deciding to slip off to the beach and do so pictures.

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I could just keep adding pictures to this post but I think I had better stop for now but you want to know what’s crazy? I can recall the exact day and the exact moment that I took the picture. I can remember bits of conversation and still hear the echo of giggles. Photographs are very powerful things.

Ahh, it feels good to get behind the camera again and know that I will be making more memories to store up and revisit later on down the road.

Think On These Things

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 

                                                                                                                             ~ Hebrews 10:19–36

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The Way We Do It

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Sometimes things become a thing that ought not be a thing. And sometimes there are things that ought to be a thing that aren’t a thing. I think Halloween falls into the becoming a thing when it ought not be a thing category.

 

Our family has been all over the spectrum about this day. Seriously, I don’t think you could choose a position and we haven’t, at one point or other in time, held it. But several years ago we finally found our spot and planted a flag so to speak. Before I tell you about our particular way of dealing with this day let me share two things that I think are important to remember.

Firstly, there is no day that does not belong to the Creator of days. They all belong to Him and we are told to rejoice in the day that He has made so rejoice!

Secondly, we are told to do all that we do, everything, to the glory of God. Now some will shake their head and declare that you cannot glorify God by dressing up and pandhandling for candy. Maybe, maybe not?

But I do believe there is a way to rejoice on the day of October 31st and glorify God in it that does not involve turning off all of your lights and pretending to not be home.

We choose to practice hospitality. Big hospitality. We open our home up to family and friends and bid them feast on mac & cheese and hot dogs. And we open our yard up to the neighborhood. We pass out candy obviously, but we also have a tasty treat of chocolate dipped marshmallows and either hot chocolate or lemonade (because Florida) and water available for thirsty visitors. It is not unusual to have 25 or 30 people gathered on the street in front of our house at a time. And a lot of them comment about how they were hoping we’d be back at it again this year.

Has anyone ever become a Christ follower because they stopped at our house for a marshmallow and cup of hot cocoa? No. But that does not change the fact that they have been given refreshment in His name. That hospitality has been given with sincere hearts because we have tasted the goodness of His table and been offered eternal hospitality.

I think to celebrate or not is a matter of conscience and not of faith so my thought about this day is mark it or not as you feel comfortable doing and whichever position you take do so with a song of rejoicing on your lips displaying the glory of our King.

And you are always welcome to stop by our house for a marshmallow and a cup of hot cocoa.

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Prayer

I really don’t understand how it works but I know that it does. I know that it is holy communication. I know that He hears us, indeed says we should pray without ceasing. I know it is not a magic lamp we rub and out pops the Holy Spirit to do our bidding but again, He listens to the cries and petitions of His children.

Sometimes, having an adult autistic child has its moments. Things can get edgy and volatile but I have learned that when it seems a storm might be brewing that I can shoot a text to my Mother and sisters asking for prayers on our behalf and Sam’s,  and things will typically settle down. It’s uncanny really, especially because I know that prayer is not some kind of magic trick but rather God hearing His children and granting what they ask in His Son’s name.  Last time this happened I asked them which one was not praying I would loose these last stubborn twenty pounds. (Okay, I know that goes back to treating prayer like the magic rub on the genie lamp but it was good for a laugh.)

But I know that sometimes praying can feel like the God and me version of the child tugging on your shirt who is incessantly asking for something all day every day. Or it just feels less than alive and genuine. Or like I am doing all the talking. Or that my words are thick and clumsy.

A friend recently shared this excerpt from AW Tozer’s sermon Make Time To Pray and I found it helpful:

Am I faithful in prayer?” Ask yourself that. “Well, I’m busy,” you say. Yes, you are busy. So was the Lord Jesus. So was Martin Luther. Luther said, “In the morning I have so much work to do that I am going to have to pray longer today.” Are you faithful in prayer, and do you meditate on the Word? How much of Scripture have you read lately? Have you read it with meditation and tenderness? These are a few questions. You can answer them evasively and the snow lies there. Or you can answer them honestly and see the springtime come to your heart. Put yourself in the hands of the One who loves you infinitely. If you have failed Him, you will have to admit that there is a rut or snow on the meadow. Tell Him so–don’t hide it. He will not turn His back in anger and say, “You disappointed me and betrayed me.” There is a balm in Gilead, plenty of it. The balm and healing in the blood of the Lamb will get you out of the rut.”

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My prayer life is so much fuller when I have been having a steady diet of His word. And honestly, it’s His words that often spark prayers and there is something comforting and powerful at the same time in knowing that I am praying His words back to Him.

What a gift prayer is to us.

 

Think On These Things

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His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 

                                                                                                                                  ~ 2 Peter 1:3–10

 

At The Same Time

There are several things about doing the Bible reading challenge that I love. Firstly, there are rather large chunks of Scripture being read at a time and there is something about taking in that much of God’s word, something about stepping back and reading the big picture. And always, no matter how many times I may have read a passage, there is usually something that stands out to me.

I have read the story of Moses being given the Ten Commandments a hundred times in my life but for some reason the timing of it all just clicked in focus so sharply that I literally had to stop and go back to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. This blew my mind. Moses is on the mountain and God is giving him the law and explaining all the particulars about the Tabernacle and sacrifices and the garments for Aaron and his sons, and the sacrifices that were to be made on behalf of the people. God is literally declaring that He will be their God and they will be His people. He is laying out how they may come to Him and how Aaron will be their priest and what his duties will be.

And it’s not like God was talking to Moses with His backed turned to the people of Israel and didn’t know what they were doing. Do you know what they were doing at that exact same moment? During those days that Moses was before God, learning all about how God was making a people for Himself, and they were down there throwing gold into the fire and worshipping a golden cafe.

The two things happened simultaneously. At the same time God was declaring His faithfulness man was declaring his unfaithfulness. Like I said, I have read that story numerous times but for some reason the timing of it was such a stark contrast. It literally left me breathless.

Have you ever stopped and considered what was going on the same moment you are sinning? What we are declaring in the midst of our sin, at the same moment that Christ is declaring His faithfulness over us? His love. His forgiveness. His restoration. His reconciliation. Our unfaithfulness. Our willfulness. Our un-forgiveness. Our brokenness. He declares life even when we declare death. His sufficiency drowns out the voice of our insufficiency.

Doesn’t that simply blow your mind? His mercy and grace is so great that in spite of our sin yesterday, our sin today, and our sin tomorrow, He has not only called us out to be His people and He to be our God but He has created good works for us to walk in. All for our good and for His glory.

What an absolutely glorious thought to consider.

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