Friday, December 31

no pause in living

"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights." ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Having spent some time with my stepdad on this day as life will be dramatically changing for him in the new year, my thoughts travel back beyond this year and to so many other years in the past as I glimpse at the passage of time.  These thoughts cause me to pause and wish that there were a few breathless moments of silence on this night to ponder life more deeply as I consider the days that pass so swiftly and are called a lifetime.  

Only God numbers our days.  

How can they best be lived fully and notably for Him in the new year to come?

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 30

foundationally speaking

A good thing to ponder upon with the coming of the new year:

"Do you aspire great things?  Begin with little ones.  You desire to erect a very high building?  Think first of the foundation of humility.  The higher you intend it, the deeper must the foundation be laid." ~ St. Augustine

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 29

slowin' down

In the midst of my busyness yesterday, I noticed a soreness slowly begin in my lower back.  By evening my hips were also quite sore and even bending over hurt.  With hopes of my sleep not being affected, a couple ibuprofen were taken late evening.

By this morning it was obvious that the pain wasn't going to go away and upon calling a chiropractor friend I was able to get in right away.  Ohhhh, boy.  A hip was way out of place.  Ice and walking were given as the follow-up prescription.  

Slow walking. 

So much I'd still like to get done before family arrives, yet I'm fine with whatever does get done and it will all get done in slow motion.  It could be much worse as so many people are dealing with the stomach *bug* or the fever and cold *bug* and either one of those would put our household in a quarantine mode.  So slow is good :-)

Slow working.

Enjoy this extended holiday at whatever speed you're going!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 28

the joy in ordinary

My thought for the day.....

"The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him." ~ Oswald Chambers

Living out the ordinary ways of life today as I clean and prepare for my family coming home and all the while keeping a pleasant heart attitude knowing that I serve Him as I serve them.  There is joy in this task as I anticipate their staggered arrivals and all that the days ahead will hold.  

May you find joy in the ordinary ways of life as your devotion to Him overflows into the lives of others!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 27

the holiday is coming

This morning I finally have all my Christmas cards at the post office and put the last batch of Christmas cookies in the oven to bake.  Hope to finish up my shopping and present wrapping today.  Then I'll get to some house cleaning before family arrive later in the week.

Have I caused you to look at your calendar yet?

Uh huh.  December 27th.  

It's not that I hadn't done all of those things above before Christmas Day.  I did. All the necessary things were completed.  But without me really noticing while it happened over the last few years, our Christmas holiday has gone through a transition.  Kids have grown up, got married, and moved away.  Although there are still five kids left at home, they are getting older, also, and Christmas morning doesn't have the hoopla it used to when all nine were little and EXTREMELY excited about getting up in the morning.  Fortunately the youngest is still excited about everything and simply adores every single gift.

Our holiday transition has instead led us to a time of great excitement and hoopla a week later when the older ones make the journey home as we celebrate the arrival of the new year.  Once everyone gets here, the living room will be packed with people around the Christmas tree and we'll all open presents with a lot of ohhhhing and ahhhhing while the grands excitedly get lost in a sea of wrapping paper.  

Family time at its best!

So, while everyone else in the country is enjoying a time of relaxation with gift putting away and tree taking down, I'll be busy preparing for our holiday celebration.  And I can't wait!

Enjoy your day!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 25

let loose!

As I was reading through Luke about the birth of Jesus in The Message translation, there was such a wonderful visual that came to mind as I read this verse:

"The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen.  It turned out exactly the way they had been told!" ~ Luke 2:20

What a different kind of holiday season it would be if all those who believe in Jesus would "let loose" glorifying and praising God for all they've seen God do in their lives!  For all the promises that turn out exactly how God's Word states!

How about taking every opportunity you can during this season to "let loose" in a God pleasing way?!

Tammy ~@~ 

Friday, December 24

the others thing

From a morning reading:

"If I seek a self-ministry, trying to satisfy myself first and foremost, I will eventually wither.  To continue 'having devotions' and 'keeping myself in tune with God' just for my own sake is running the risk of failure.  But to keep myself strong in my relationship to God for the sake of others is the only way to keep myself continually strong for Him.  Even the most dedicated Christians can wind up as castaways if they forget that ministering to others is the only sure way to minister to themselves." ~ W.Glyn Evans 

Keep your eyes open for ways to minister to others - perhaps in unexpected places - during this season!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 23

let me, Lord

Keeping my heart ever focused on the Lord during this season....

"Take the full possession of my heart, raise there your throne, and command there as you do in heaven.  Being created by you, let me live to you.  Being created for you, let me ever act for your glory.  Being redeemed by you, let me render unto you what is yours, and let my spirit ever cleave to you alone." ~ John Wesley

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 22

farewell to the men

An executive decision has been made.  It was not an easy decision especially since it involves a baking tradition from the beginning of the life of our family.  Plus you know what a sentimental traditionalist I am.  Yet, it makes sense to no longer continue with this one.

Gingerbread men will no longer be mixed and chilled, cookie cuttered and baked, then frosted and decorated in our home.  The general consensus last Christmas is that no one really likes to eat the guys as was duly noted at the end of the holiday season when all the cookies had been devoured except for the pile of gingerbread men.   Even decorating them had become a chore as it's always done after we've decorated all the cutter cookies.  So, it makes no sense to go through all the steps of producing them, especially since there's sooooo many cookies we absolutely adore eating at Christmastime.  

Now that the announcement has been made, we can officially begin our Christmas baking!

Enjoy the treats of the season!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 21

marking the winter solstice

Welcome to the First Day of Winter!
We woke up to this freshly fallen snow this morning and we've had light snow tumbling from the sky throughout the day. It's so pretty to watch from the windows and with a little background music in the kitchen it's hard not to be in the mood for Christmas.  My primary task for the day has been to work on getting our Christmas cards ready for mailing.  They are now all addressed, but I need to date the back of our family picture and polish the family letter a bit before signing the cards and sending them off.  Since I already know most people won't receive them before Christmas, it does kind of take the pressure off a bit.  So, I may take a break and wrap a few presents tonight.  

How's everyone else coming with their pre-Christmas tasks?

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 20

Simple Woman's Daybook for December 20

For today December 20

Outside my window.....the early morning skies are still dark and the temperature is below zero.  Snow will be coming later today.

I am thinking.....about the Christmas tasks I have left to do which is pretty close to the same list I had at the beginning of this month.

I am thankful.....for how God's Hand protected our family over the weekend.

I am flannel bathrobe and fuzzy pink socks.

I am of our dogs snoring in the hallway.

I am encouragement box with some pretty scrapbooking papers I bought.

I am do most of my shopping online except for the little things I can pick up locally.

I am Bible and a prayer book.
I am praying.....for a son taking a PT test this morning.
I am remembering.....the Christmas excitement in the house when all my children were little.  Seems like yesterday.

I am hoping.....that my Christmas cards will be in the mail before Christmas.
On my the continual challenge of BALANCE.
From the learning is quiet since most of the children are now on break except for a couple who have some studies to finish up yet.

Noticing that....I need to get back to regularly walking as it does help with the stresses of life.

Pondering these words....."One of the great needs in the church today is for every Christian to become enthusiastic about his faith in Jesus Christ." ~ Billy Graham

From the kitchen.....there will be LOTS of cookie baking this week.

Around the house....are too many crumbs as my children have been too frequently breaking the "only eat in the kitchen" rule.  

One of my favorite things.....are snowy blustery days when I don't have to leave my house and can cozy up by the woodburner.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include shopping, wrapping, baking, sewing, working, writing, and CHRISTMAS!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.... 
Remembering the reason for the season keeps a heart calm.

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day. If you'd like to visit others who are participating during the month of December or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 18

a winter graduation

It seems it was only a blink of an eye ago as I think back to an August day in 2007 when we dropped a son off at college.   It was a warm day as we all helped carry his gear up to his dorm room.  I can still picture him with his baseball cap on and the way his blonde hair would curl up underneath it.  He was ready for the adventure of higher education and already had a job lined up on campus in the computer technology department.  And I can still remember fighting back tears as we drove away which seems to be my tradition at those moments in life of suddenly realizing my kids have grown up.   Plus there's always that moment of holding your breath and praying that the choice you made as a parent to homeschool your children will be proven out to be a wise one.  

Fast forward to today.  

Our family will once again be on his campus, but this time to watch him graduate. With lots of hard work and some summer courses over the past three and a half years, he'll walk down the aisle to receive his diploma.  He's held his campus job the entire time moving up in the ranks to the highest student position in the department.  Over the last seven months, he has maintained the balance of schooling and married life.  The curls under his baseball cap are long gone and his wardrobe will also change as he begins a new job right after his graduation.   That held breath is let out as I acknowledge that homeschooling did work in giving him the foundational tools to do well with his future goals.  

As his mom, I'm proud of him and look forward to how God will work in his life in the days ahead!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 17

the value marker

"Whenever something is of tremendous value to you, and you cherish its beauty or power or uniqueness, you want to draw others' attention to it and waken in them the same joy.  That is why Paul's all-consuming goal in life was for Christ to be magnified.  Christ was of infinite value to Paul, and so Paul longed for others to see and savor this value." ~ John Piper

Paul was such an awesome example of "to live is Christ".  Ohhhh, to live in a way that self would not be seen and Christ would shine!  

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 16

life is fragile

Life is fragile.

Life is just one breath from eternity.

We tend to get busy with our lives moving from one thing to the next thing without stopping to ponder.  And then something momentarily stops our heart from beating and our attention becomes reclaimed and brought back to where it needs to be.  

Life is fragile.

Life is jut one breath from eternity.

For almost four years I've gotten to know many of my readers as you have gotten to know me both on this blog through comments and through private emails.  So, as I share the following I know in my heart that you will stop to ponder, you will hug your little ones, you will continue nurturing them, and you will pray fervently now and especially in the days ahead because you realize the power of prayer.

Three years ago in December, Heart of the Matter Online was beginning and forming their writing team of which I was honored to be included.  Before we launched, we were all getting to know one another through many emails and blogging visiting.  It was then that I first met Dana and was introduced to her family through her blog Principled Discovery.  It was obvious from the beginning that she poured herself into nurturing her family and loved the challenge of homeschooling.  

This past week Dana's family had a heartbreaking tragedy occur through an unforeseen household accident which resulted in the loss of her twenty-two month old sweet little boy.  

Life is fragile.

Life is just one breath from eternity.

Having raised a large family and knowing that incidents that happen through the years with children are often only mere inches or mere seconds from becoming tragic, my own heart aches as I ponder Dana's story.  Please keep her family in your prayers now, through the holidays which will never be the same for her family, and in the days ahead as the shock wears off and their hearts grieve more deeply and fully.

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 15

pondering problems

A little reminder from Oswald Chambers to ponder:

"My questions come whenever I cease to obey.  When I have obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they come as probes to keep the mind going on with amazement at the revelation of God.  Any problem that comes between God and myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are many, that is alongside me while I obey God, increases my ecstatic delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing."

That puts a whole new light on the problems of life, doesn't it?  I think I much prefer the ones that come with obedience.  Who wouldn't prefer the amazement and ecstatic delight that comes when God walks with you unraveling the problems of life?

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 14

the little house

As I've slowly and happily been chugging along on my Christmas tasks, last night we had a family activity at church that kept the cheer alive.

Although I've been considering doing gingerbread houses this month, I'm relieved that the craft last night was that very thing as now it's one less thing on my list that I was considering to do.    All the kids had a great time and there was a LOT of finger licking going on as they decorated their little houses.  
My littlest didn't eat a thing off of her house when we got back home and it is still sitting neatly on the kitchen table this morning.  Her older sisters pretty much cleaned all the beauty off their houses as soon as they walked through the door smacking their lips as they went!  

Enjoy the little activities of the season!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 13

time for THE light to shine

Rumor has it that there's a local production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever that will be performed this coming weekend.  It looks like we'll miss seeing it due to prior commitments - and unless another snowstorm keeps us close to home! - yet we won't forget a very important lesson we learned when we read the book by Barbara Robinson a few years ago.  

Want to know what that lesson was?  Read about it over at Heart of the Matter where I wrote about how you can Shine the Light for Jesus during this season!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 11

revising the holiday love

As I continue to read the tips found in my little Christmas book of helpful Christ centered Christmas ideas, I hit one that I disagree with.....

"Say 'I love you' often to those around you during the holiday season."

What?  This is a tip that should only be used during the holiday season? Is it the only time of the year that our spirits should be light and happy and wanting to share the love?


"Say 'I love you' often to those around you."  PERIOD!  

We don't know what the day may bring or the next day or the year ahead.  Use every opportunity to tell those who are dear to you that you love them.  And as Donna at Quiet Life would always say, follow the LOVE YOU with MEAN IT!

Enjoy the weekend and find activities to do that you love to do and can do them with people you love!  We are using a winter snowstorm as the perfect opportunity to travel to a place where we can trudge through the woods to cut the perfect Christmas tree!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 10

a smile lift

From my gardening flip calendar today:

"When you lift someone's spirit, you can't help but life your own." ~ author unknown

Every once in a while there's a daily saying that has absolutely nothing to do with gardening.  But that's okay.  After all, it's December here and everything is white outside my window.  My gardening world is sound asleep for a long winter's nap. 

In fact, as I consider that we are in the midst of the holiday season this saying seems perfect.  *Merry* isn't always the first word people will associate with the word *Christmas*.  The holidays can be a difficult time.  A depressing time.  A time when memories come flooding back of loved ones who are gone that your heart dearly misses.  Or perhaps you come from a background of a family that was not functioning well which meant the holidays were a time of fighting or abuse or perhaps drunkenness.

But if you know Jesus, you have HOPE!  You have LIGHT!  You have the SAVIOR!  You know LOVE!  Share it with others.  A smile.  A kind word.  A helping hand.  Be Jesus with skin on by lifting someone else's spirit.

Can I share how easy it is?  Late yesterday afternoon, my chauffeur my husband who doesn't mind driving when the snowy weather is nasty, drove me to Walmart since I do not like driving in the winter and was at a desperate point of having my household using the last roll of toilet paper as well as the last kitchen garbage bag.  He dropped us off close to the doorway as he was going to the gas station while we shopped.  My daughter and I walked through the swirling blustery snow stopping briefly at the ringing bell and red kettle.  The poor man's beard was full of snow, his cheeks were red, the  warm steam was pouring from his mouth as we talked for just a few minutes.  I told him I appreciated his willingness to stand out there in the blustery weather to help others, dropped my coins into his kettle, and as I turned to leave he said with a smile, "Thank you!  You are certainly a happy little gal!"

I tell you, I giggled about that comment the whole time we were walking through the store looking for toilet paper, garbage bags, and the coffee filters which were almost gone at home.  Funny how when you're happy and smile it's hard for someone else not to smile back which was noted as we passed by the shopping carts of others.  When I got home I thought about how simple it was to bless someone who unexpectedly blessed me back which caused me to keep blessing others.

I encourage you, no, I challenge you to try it this holiday season.  SMILE with the hope, light, and love that comes from your life filled with the Savior and brighten the day of others in your path who may need it!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 9

the calm....

Last night after a very full day from start to finish, I pulled out a little Christmas book of helpful Christ centered Christmas tips.  This was one of my favorite tips:

Endeavor to stay calm in the midst of all the frenzy.  "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." ~ I Corinthians 14:33

It immediately struck a chord with me because I do feel calm.  In fact, I think I  feel almost too calm.  Let's take this a step further, I feel so calm about the holidays that I'm barely moving through them.  My Christmas music first got pulled out over the weekend.  The master Christmas list was sent out at the beginning of the week for all the family.  Only a few Christmas decorations have come out of the boxes this week.  Perhaps we'll get our tree on Saturday. Hopefully I'll write the rough draft of our family Christmas letter on Sunday.  But I have not felt rushed about any of it.

Do you think that feeling will change when it's the 20th of December and I haven't done any shopping or baking?  Is this relaxed feeling only the calm before the STORM when my mind clicks back into reality?  Or is this calmness  the result of daily asking God to lead and guide my days for His purposes and not my own as I desire to wholeheartedly be walking in His will?

Stay tuned....and in the meantime find your calm in this season of chaos!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 7

how can I

How can I love the world that hated Him?
How can I love the sin that drove Him to Calvary?
How can I look twice at that which required His Holy Life?

Gracious Master and my God, help me to
     Worship You acceptably
     Serve You eagerly
     Long for You frequently
And to know that You are better than anything this world may offer.

May I see that any longing for power, prosperity, or pleasantry is contrary to longing for You.
May I see that nothing this world can ever offer, tempt, or tantalize is better than You and You alone.

May I see that my sins have far greater impact than I want to acknowledge.
And May I see that Your forgiveness has far greater impact that I can understand.

Dear gracious Master and my Savior, help me to
     Pray joyfully
     Rest contentedly
     Live faithfully
And to know and experience that hating sin is loving You.
~Michael J. Easley from Interludes

Last month a prayer from this book was read at our congregational meeting.  After the meeting I asked if I could borrow the book and have spent the last couple of weeks reading through it.  As I return the book back to its owner, I've added it to my Christmas list.  The prayers read very similarly to another prayer book I own and keep by my bed - Valley of Vision which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.  Both books speak my heart and I highly recommend them!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 6

singing praises

This past fall for my birthday, my girls gave me this:
Chris Tomlin's Hello Love 

The first opportunity I had to run errands, I took the CD along in the car so that I could listen to it with my three girls in tow.  And what was the first thing I did once it started playing?  I started singing, of course!  

From the backseat of the car I heard....

"I told you she'd do it."

"Do what?" I asked.

"SING, Mom!" was their reply.

"How can you NOT sing?  The first song on the CD is 'Sing, Sing, Sing', you silly girls!" I said in-between singing the words.  

And so it has continued every time I'm in the car.  I sing with every song on this CD as I enjoy his music so much.  In my mind it continues to prove the point that if you are having a badattitude or a down day and make the choice to put on music praising God, you immediately feel your spirit change as your heart goes from dwelling on yourself to putting your eyes back on your Heavenly Father.  And isn't that where your daily moment-by-moment focus should be?

With the holidays upon us, there's even more opportunities to sing praise and worship the car!  I smiled about the idea that Suzanne had over at The Joyful Chaos as she shared her Christmas gift to readers.  I wonder what my girls would say about that idea?  hee hee....

May there be LOTS of singing in your garden today!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 4

the right longing

Here's my thought for the weekend:

"I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself." ~ Oswald Chambers

Enjoy the pondering!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 3

your daily appointment

Turning the calendar page to December is always a frightening kind of thing as the days fill up and then overflow with activities, appointments, and a long list of tasks.  It's best to get a grasp of it early on in the month and set your priorities.  Can I suggest what needs to be at the top of your list to successfully and more peacefully get through the days ahead?

"Make a plan now to keep a daily appointment with God.  The enemy is going to tell you to set it aside, but you must carve out the time.  If you're too busy to meet with the Lord, friend, then you are simply too busy." ~ Charles Swindoll

Don't tuck this task away in your mind as something you will try to do....write it on you list for the day and do not neglect it!  Time spent with the Lord is priceless!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 2

thankful beyond Thanksgiving time

It's been quite awhile since I've participated in a Thankful Thursday, but it seems appropriate at the moment as each day throughout November I've been easily finding things to be thankful for in my life.  The problem is....I can't seem to stop now that December is here!  Yes, this truly is NOT a problem as a heart full of thankfulness can only point back to the goodness of a Heavenly Father through the  thick and thin of life.  

Here's the thankful overflow of today:

*For a warm house now that winter has arrived.
*For the beauty of the snow lightly falling outside my window.
*For the ministry of friends who are an encouragement when I am discouraged and frustrated.
*For the wonderful bond that develops among friends in Bible study groups as we dig deeper into God's Word together.
*For a healthy family at the moment when there's a lot of illness going around the community.  My husband thinks it's the kombucha tea...hee hee...but I'm going to claim God's goodness this morning.
*For the provision of work which allows all our needs to be met in God's perfect timing.
*For sons who are trained in computers and can help their poor mother out when she needs to do things that are beyond her computer literacy which means they frequently get called upon.
*For the strength that can only come from God to get certain tasks done.
*For the generous heart of a husband who reaches out to those in need.
*For the faithfulness of God who walks with us as we take steps of obedience into unknown territory.

Okay, I'll stop my thankful list at ten.  How about you?  What is the thing you are most thankful for today?

If you'd like to participate, too, please click over to Thankful Thursday

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 1

the Light of December

Can you believe it?  The last month of the year has arrived already!  And what a wonderful verse to end the year with as we remember the life of a newborn baby who came to the earth to become a light to all men....

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." ~ John 1:4

Allow this Light in your life to overflow into the lives of others as you share the reason for the season during the month ahead!

Tammy ~@~
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