Thursday, December 29

vision focus

My thought to ponder for the day..."You have to walk in the light of the vision that has been given to you and not compare yourself with others or judge them, that is between them and God." ~ Oswald Chambers

God has a special purpose and plan which only YOU can fulfill.  Keeping your eyes and focus on that vision will keep you plenty busy not allowing any extra time to start thinking about others and what they are doing.  A thought to take to heart right now!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 28

the best nutrition

Sharing a bit of my devotional from this morning as it's a wonderful thing to consider as we begin a new year in just a few days.  Plus it's written by one of my favorite authors :-) The devotional was based on this verse:

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. ~ Jeremiah 15:16

"When we read God's Word, we have to be doing more than checking it off our to-do list.  We have to read it to digest it. Slow, thoughtful absorption of the Word of God with quiet reflection on its implications is high in nutrition.  His Word provides all the ingredients we need to thrive spiritually:

     *a direct connection to the sustainer of our soul

     *brain food that makes us wise and discerning

     *a daily check-up revealing the condition of our hearts

     *preventative medicine keeping us from sin

     *a spiritual shower of peace, hope, and comfort

Eat God's Word.  It's a spiritual feast! ~ Joe Stowell

What a wonderful prescription for good spiritual health as we come into the new year!  Start your new year with a way to make your heart rejoice each and every day!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 26

the changing holidays

The life of a family is constantly changing.  As much as we want to freeze certain moments of time - and speed up others! - time marches on at a steady pace.  

We've had many crazy Christmas years as our family has been growing up.  There's nothing in the entire world like watching lots of young children opening presents - be sure to put that on my favorite list of life things - and then it seems that suddenly the small children have grown up.  Not only do they grow up, but they move away from home, get married, start their own families, and begin their own traditions.  And that's a very good thing :-)  However, it's part of the changing of the life of a family especially when it comes to holidays.  

All that to say....our Christmas this year was very quiet. The children home ranged from eight years old to nineteen so present opening was much more low key.  Older children want more expensive items which means a LOT fewer packages.  The youngest was still delighted with the present opening and everyone was happy at the end of this brief encounter with their gifts, but once it was over everyone got into high gear.  Within thirty minutes, the house was suddenly quiet again as all the older ones were gone.  Only myself and the youngest who has a coughing cold at the moment were left behind.  

And a new tradition was born on this Christmas Day.... they headed out for a day of skiing and snowboarding!  They had a wonderful fun day as the ski hills were rather quiet on Christmas Day.  It was perfect as two of them went snowboarding for the first time on a real ski hill instead of practicing on the hill by our house.  They arrived home tired and sore and full of stories.

Back home my youngest found quiet activities to do throughout the day which was just what she needed for a change.  My time was spent making a few more holiday treats, working on some sewing projects for gifts, and wrapping the last of the presents.  

For you see, while everyone else in the world is at the end of their Christmas holiday, the life of our changing family means our big holiday event is yet to come as we will all celebrate together toward the end of this week when everyone travels home.  That is when the wrapping paper will be flying, the conversation will be loud, the laughter will be contagious, the conversations at the kitchen table will be boisterous, and the wrestling of the boys will begin.

THOSE are the moments a mother treasures in her heart for a long long time with a very thankful heart!

Hoping your holidays have been merry and bright!  Enjoy!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 21

packages of all sizes

Coming home after being gone all day, I was delightfully surprised to see that shipped packages had arrived as they were stacked in the kitchen.  However, after looking at them closer I had a concern.  For the life of me, I could not figure out what was in the biggest box.  My memory could only pull up one small thing I was waiting for and it certainly wouldn't require a box that big.  I was going to check my order online before bed, but I was ohhh sooo tired and forgot all about doing that when I couldn't keep my eyes opened any longer.

This morning I pulled up the order in my email and had one of those "Aha!" moments as I reviewed the list realizing that the majority of the things in the box weren't mine.  The order had included several things that my children needed for the family members they were Christmas shopping for this year.  WHEW!

As I thought about it while exercising this morning, it reminded me of a conversation I had yesterday with a friend.  We were talking about sin and how when we make what may seem like a small fall into temptation it often comes with HUGE consequences because there is a ripple effect often into the lives of others that suddenly makes that small sin into a huge elephant in a room.  

What we thought was a small package is suddenly a large box because other people are involved either directly or indirectly. The ugliness of sin

And that brought me to one place.  A baby.
As prophesied in God's Word, a small package would arrive on this earth in the little town of Bethlehem in the form of a baby.  But as happens with all babies, they grow up into adults and the world would come to know this big package as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He lived, He died, He rose again...all to take care of those HUGE packages of sin each person on this earth accumulates. He offers complete forgiveness of sins and the free gift of salvation as you turn from your sins and turn toward him.

God, the greatest gift giver of all, offers the greatest gift of all.  Don't turn down this gift because your life does depend upon it!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 20

ironing out change

For those of you who have read here long enough, you know that ironing and homeschooling go together for me.  For years I've ironed clothes while giving spelling tests.  And once it seemed I regularly fell asleep sitting next to my younger readers while they were reading to me, I moved them into our laundry area where they could read to me while I was upright ironing.  

I realize that there are people out there who would consider this ironing task with dread and distaste, but I honestly LOVE it!  It's relaxing to me :-)

So, how interesting was it yesterday when I asked my youngest to come into my bedroom to do her reading.  I told her she could sit in my comfy rocking chair and read aloud while I wrapped presents nearby on the card table that I had set up.  She went and got her books and charts and settled into the chair.  But then there was a look of obvious distress on her face as she began reading.  Tears were forming in her eyes.  As I watched this process worsen, I asked her what was wrong.

"I can't read here.  It's too hard.  We need to go downstairs so you can iron while I read."


Well, that was a first!  

I hadn't pegged this little one as someone that would have a problem with "change", but there it was clearly in black and white.

We talked a bit and I encouraged her to finish the reading she was doing which she did get through, but was she ever relieved to be done.  

You know, just when you think you have your kids figured out, then something new pops up.  Knowing that she may be sensitive to things changing around her, I'll have to be more watchful in the days ahead to help her ease into situations that may come up.  

The reality as we know it is that life is all about change, isn't it?  We can either kick and scream about it OR see what the Lord has in mind.  I'd prefer the second choice as I find His plan is always more interesting than what I had in mind.  How about you?

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 19

finding Truth

A week has passed!  I can't believe I haven't been here to post in a week.  It's not that there's a lack of things that could be written about and posted as there's lots of life happening right now.  It's more a lack of knowing how to put many big thoughts into few small spaces so that people will actually read them.  

These words from Oswald Chambers expressed it perfectly for me last week:  "If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can.  If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life.  Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else.  God through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed.  You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else;  but if you say lazily--'I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say', the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone.  Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God's truth, and you give God a change to pass it on to someone else through you."

It's easy to summarize all of that to say I'm struggling on several levels.  There's a raw emotion that comes with it and I'm sorting through the feelings to find God's truth.  The challenge comes with being in *the season* that also brings a rush of emotions mixed with memories of Christmases past.  The sense of being incredibly blessed in a world that lives in darkness and heartache is sometimes overwhelming.  All that to say....

The Truth is out there shining His Light.  Watch for it!  
It's in places like churches that return every Christmas to children who very simply tell the old old story as angels sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." ~ Luke 2:14  It is this story of the greatest love of all given to the entire world as the the greatest gift of all.

His peace, love, and joy!  May it be yours today!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 12

Simple Woman's Daybook for December 12

For today December 12

Outside my window.....the skies are almost foggy with a misty snow coming down.

I am thinking.....about finding my cross stitch fabric this afternoon so I can get going on a Christmas stocking.

I am thankful.....for the good health of our family at the moment despite all the *bugs* going around right now.

I am wearing.....a pair of blue jeans and a warm green top.

I am hearing.....Christmas music playing in the kitchen where the girls are *ice skating* on the kitchen tile floor.

I am to best handle a situation with one of my children that I know will NOT be well received by them when I address it.

I am creating.....a list of the final items I need to order online.

I am stop by the Christian bookstore this week to see what new devotional journals are available for the new year.

I am reading.....With by Skye Jethani

I am praying.....for a son who has college finals this week.

I am remembering.....making Christmas cookies at my grandma's house when I was a little girl.

I am wrap some Christmas presents today so I don't have to worry as much about possible snoopers in the house.

On my a list that is longer than the time I have to accomplish it.

From the learning rooms.....we are busy trying to get our schooling done before the holidays PLUS I have to get a high school transcript typed up ASAP for a college application.  

Noticing that.....these dark mornings and late afternoons make me sleepy putting me into a hibernation mode these days.

I am looking forward to.....when our family will be all together over the holidays.

Pondering these words....."Finding our hope with God rather than in our circumstances means that if our external circumstances suddenly change, perhaps even tragically, our hope can remain intact. " ~ Skye Jethani

From the kitchen.....we are washing up brand new dishes which will replace the pieced together patchwork dishes we've been using for a long time.

Around the house....are - simply put - lots of MESSES!

One of my favorite watching the snow come down outside our windows during the month of December.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include the children's Christmas program tonight and again on Sunday morning, working a bit, doing my husband's monthly bookwork, a chiropractor appointment, mid-week Bible study, picking up a son from college, present ordering and wrapping, Christmas letter writing, and.....isn't that enough when added to the normal routine?!?!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....of a gingerbread house.  Friends of ours had an extra one and gave it to the girls who enjoyed frosting and decorating it last night.

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

Have a wonderful Christmas season celebrating the coming of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 9

tree worthy

Last Saturday we went Christmas tree hunting and cut down the perfect tree for us.  Over the week the kids have been putting on the ornaments and trying to keep them high enough that the cat won't knock them down.  I've noticed that as our family is growing, the ornaments on the tree are decreasing as each child takes the ornaments they've collected over the years with them as they start a new family.  It's actually kind of nice in a way because you can really notice different ornaments instead of so many ornaments making a blur together on the tree. 
It only took me a moment to find one of my oldest favorite ornaments.  I hadn't grown up with an ornament tradition, however my mom had given me this one during my senior year of high school.  
I love it not only because it is dated, but also because it was so fitting at the time as the group of friends I spent time with began downhill skiing that winter.  We had a lot of good clean fun during those times and every time I see that Precious Moments girl skiing the memory makes me smile.

Do you have a favorite ornament on your tree that brings a smiling memory?

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 7

the gift of Bread

This morning I had one of those "I never knew that" kind of moments.  I never knew that the name Bethlehem meant "House of Bread".  Yes, it was located in a grain producing area in the Old Testament, but I was more struck by the fact that in the New Testament it was the birthplace of Jesus who is the Living Bread.

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever." ~ John 6:51

As I consider how many people are searching and struggling after finding  emptiness in the world around them, our Advent celebration of our Coming King is the answer!   What a perfect season to share about the Living Bread who was born in the House of Bread.  Jesus provides nourishment and life for all spiritual hunger and He offers it freely to anyone.  

JESUS - a perfect gift idea for anyone and everyone on YOUR Christmas list!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 6

walking until the end

My devotional this morning was about following family lines through genealogies which is a popular thing these days. My mother-in-law had traced her family line quite far back and it's interesting to read the names as well as some occupations of ancestors.  I also have a cousin who has done a lot of research of my mom's side of the family and he has collected interesting information, too.

The devotional, however, was talking about the family lines listed in the Bible found in Genesis chapter five with one person highlighted who escaped the other eight whose life story ended with "and he died" - Enoch.  Enoch is noted in verse 23 for the fact that he "walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."

When I think about my family tree, it is interesting that little information is given unless it is important.  The same thing seems to apply to this family line listed in Genesis with only more information listed because it was important.  He walked with God.

Can you think of anything more important to be noted for when your life is over and done and only a line jotted in a genealogy?

It's a daily moment by moment lifestyle to walk with God - one that takes commitment as you build that relationship with Him.   Yet what a blessing it would be if the only thing noted about your life when it was over was that you walked with God!

Off to go about you?

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 3

the best Fireman

Often people will comment to me about how I must have LOTS of good stories having raised a large family.  And often I respond to them that I know I have LOTS of good stories which are unfortunately locked up in my steel trap of my mind.  Life was so busy when all of my kids were little that my memories were savored as we lived them and only arise again when my older ones go through reminiscing moments when we are gathered together.  Those times are worthy of many smiles!  How I wish the world was blogging back when they were all little so I could at least have a written journal to look back upon instead of those hastily written at the end of the day jottings on a calendar page. 

So, when my daughter-in-law recently had one of those wonderful moments happen in her life with my getting close to four year old grandson, I had to ask her if I could borrow it to share.  Here it is:

The mom:  What do you know about Jesus?
The son:  He helps us!!
The mom:  That's right!! Why does He help us?
The son: ....(pause, then triumphant hand raise) ...Because He's a fire-fighter!!! 

I've either failed as a Biblical educator, or he's a junior theologian...not sure which. 

Isn't this delightful?  And wouldn't you agree that he is a junior theologian?  Jesus does help us because He is a fire-fighter.  He helps fight the fires of Hell and offers Living Water to put them out.

Yup, yup.  I have a smart little grandson! I think I need to get him a fire truck for Christmas :-)

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 1

great joy

Welcome to December!

"Do not be afraid;  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." ~ Luke 2:10

Great joy for all people!

It's a season that we can so easily lose JOY as the days get weighted down with extra activities, shopping, baking, and general busyness that comes with the holidays.  Yet it also happens to be a season where hearts are more tender to hear about Jesus. 

I think back to the "make haste slowly" of the other day and how important it is that we slow down the busyness of the season so we can listen to God. So we can open our eyes to those who are in need.  So we can share the love of God and the joy that flows from our hearts.  None of that will happen if we are too busy.

For we truly do have good news of great joy for all people and there's no better time than right now to share it as we celebrate the coming of our newborn King throughout the month of December!

Tammy ~@~
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