Monday, January 31

the boys of winter

As we are about to turn the page to February, it comes with the realization that I am waiting on a grandson to arrive. Seems that three years ago I was in the exact same place at the exact same time.  Waiting on a grandson to arrive.  

I find it interesting that the granddaughters prefer to be born in the summer and the grandsons prefer to be born in the winter.  

Ahhhh, those boys of winter who keep their grandma frequently watching weather maps for here and for several hours away.  Watching the snowstorms travel from all directions primarily in the way of my expected travels. Don't those sweet little boys realize that grandma doesn't have a good car for driving through winter snows and that these snow filled days here and there produce a tad bit of anxiousness?

Or does this not have a single thing to do with them and more with my Heavenly Father once again turning my eyes toward Him in total trust of His perfect timing?

Yes, I will keep my eyes upward though you may hear me whispering  :::::snow snow go away come back another day:::::


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 29

the work rest balance

Having read a familiar psalm this morning, I was stopped by a verse in it that I've never really thought about much:


"In vain you rise up early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves." ~ Psalm 127:2 (NIV)


"It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." ~ Psalm 127:2 (ESV)


*Vain - empty, producing no result, useless, futile, worthless, of no real value


Does it come from the image of the Proverbs 31 woman that we think we must stay busy from sunrise to sunset?  


There is no doubt that in God's Word it is evident that He honors hard work and having a good work ethic.  However, that work is not to be filled with anxiousness or meaningless busyness or perhaps neglect of things or people that are also important. He will provide all the time we need to do the things He has called us to in our lives. That work can only be maintained with adequate physical rest and time spent becoming spiritually refreshed through Him.   Rest is like His love gift to us knowing that we can rest in Him for all the details of our life as we close our eyes.


Work.  Rest.  We need both in our lives and need to trust His help in giving us the perfect balance.   


Seek Him in the morning as you commit your day into His Hands.  Ask Him to set before you the tasks that are a priority so that those tasks are not done in vain and be open to the moments of rest that He may provide which cause you to sit down to meet the needs of others or catch glimpses of His Word.  


May the work of your hands on this day provide you great joy allowing you the enjoyment of sweet sleep tonight!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 28

look above

"How did God bring about the miracle of the Red Sea?  By shutting His people in on every side, so that there was no way out but the divine way.  The Egyptians were behind them, the sea was in front of them, the mountains were on every side of them.  There was no escape but from above.

Some one has said that the devil can wall us in, but he cannot roof us over.  We can always get out at the top." ~ A.B. Simpson

It's often true that we tend to attempt everything we can to get out of challenging situations BEFORE asking for God's help.  We wait until we are worn out from battling every side and claiming defeat BEFORE asking for God's help.  

What if when we saw that we were being enclosed on every side, we looked up to our Heavenly Father BEFORE becoming weary with battle and asked for His power, strength, and wisdom to help and guide us?

Why do it the foolish human way when God is available at our whisper?

The wonderful part of it is the end result of being able to give God all the glory.  The "me" is gone and it's all about HIM!  

Remember earlier in the week when I wrote about showing Him off in a world that is totally unaware of what He is like(let's talk glory)?  That very day I walked into a situation that was soooo out of my control, strength, and power that I could only go immediately above me to God's throne of grace and mercy. He answered swiftly and in so many precise details that I can't stop telling about how incredibly awesome God is!  

Never doubt for a moment the fact that God is moving in a detailed way in our lives placing situations and people right where they need to be when He needs them there in His absolute perfect timing. There are no coincidences.  There are no mistakes.  There's only God.  

Look for Him.  You'll find him above when you're being squeezed on all sides.  That's when you'll find that He was next to you all the time.....


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 27

stay out of trouble

Here's my quote for the day:


"We get into trouble when we think we know what to do and we stop asking God if we're doing it." ~ Stormie Omartian


Making a prayerful connection with God on a daily basis to see what HE has in mind for your day is always the best thing!  You may be surprised at the results!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 26

gifting with purpose

One wonderful part of homeschooling is learning with my children all the things I don't remember learning about when I was in school.  That wonderful part is enhanced when I am able to put what we're learning into a Biblical perspective.


Recently with my youngest we've been going through all the various creatures God created.  The animals, the birds, the fish, the insects.  Have you ever considered how unique each one is?  They are all different in various ways - their eyes, their legs, their beaks, their fins, their feet, their protection, and on and on and on.  An interesting fact we came across was how the giraffe's neck is made in a way that it can look up easily, but it is difficult for them to look down.  The bison, however, is built in a way that they keep their heads down, but it is difficult for them to look up.  Different, yet they each have a particular and important purpose to serve in this world as do all of God's creation. 


Even people!  We are all gifted in particular ways to serve particular purposes.  In Romans chapter twelve, Paul talks about the fact that there are many members within a body of believers who all have different gifts which do not serve the same function yet are important to be used so that the church can serve as one body.  


Imagine if all the bees decided they no longer wanted to travel from flower to flower in order to do their pollination duties.  They were tired of carrying that yellow stuff on their legs no matter how ideal God had designed their legs for that specific purpose.  What a disaster that would be!


It can have the same sad effect within a body of believers when someone determines they don't want to use the gifts God designed in their lives to use for a particular purpose within the church.  


Is God whispering to your heart about a particular way YOU can serve using your gift with a purpose?  Pray about it!  Seek out opportunities to use it!  Bring glory to Him in the process and be blessed at the same time!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 25

let's talk glory

A recent devotional written by one of my favorite authors had this to say about bringing glory to God:


"God's glory is the manifestation of all that He is in His unsurpassed, stunning perfection.  It is His amazing love, His wide mercy, His deep grace.  His glory is seen in His truth, justice, wisdom, and power.


To glorify Him means that we have the high privilege of showing Him off in a world that is totally unaware of what He is really like.  Acts of mercy to the undeserving, grace to the needy, forgiveness to an offender, living wisely according to His will -- all give glorious visibility to the character and quality of our God." ~ Joe Stowell


Be encouraged to live your life in a way that will bring Him glory in a world that does not know Him knowing He will stretch your faith in the most incredible ways at the same time!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 24

the baby journey

Pregnancy is always a good time to talk about God's amazing creation of human life.  I loved my years of pregnancy when I'd get out the books and charts to show my children how big that baby inside me was at that moment or what was currently developing or counting how many times the baby hiccuped in a day or feeling the power of the baby's kick.  Nothing beats a real life example!  


However, I'm pretty sure my days of pregnancy are over, so there's another wonderful resource available to teach about the journey of life.  Although it is not a Christian production, you cannot help but see God's miraculous fingerprints all over the journey of life from conception to birth.  I've written about it over at Heart of the Matter Online in an article called The Miracle of Life


While you are busy reading over there, I'll be busy here staying a little closer to the phone than usual as my oldest daughter nears her due date with my next grandbaby.  As we've been following her pregnancy, I can once again say that nothing beats a real life example!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~





Saturday, January 22

green and gold

Living in the land of the frozen tundra, it would be impossible to NOT be excited about the big event this weekend.
It's been seventy years since the Green Bay Packers met the Chicago Bears in a playoff game for the NFC Championship and this game may as well be the Super Bowl for the importance it plays to fans in this long time rivalry.  It really has been a fun and exciting time as good natured humor goes back and forth between the teams.


There's no doubt in my mind that the results of this game will be the opposite of the results of the championship game played in 1941.


GO GREEN AND GOLD!  GO PACK GO!


Enjoy your weekend!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 21

how to guard

"Guard jealously your relationship to God." ~ Oswald Chambers


Only five words.


Guard - the act or duty of protecting or defending;  to be watchful and alert


Jealously - demanding complete devotion; vigilantly


Only a million thoughts to ponder as I consider how best to live those five words!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 20

the telltale signs of a Bible

With the health of my stepdad beginning to change, when all my older ones were home over New Years we took a little trip to go and visit him.  We had a wonderful time chatting with him for a few hours and he mentioned that he did want the kids to consider taking a few things home with them.  
When we walked downstairs to check out his puzzle supply, I noticed an old Bible on the table.
Upon opening it up, I saw that it had been given to my grandmother when she was a young teenaged girl back in the year 1915 and had one of my favorite verses from Psalms inscripted under the date.
The page after that listed timely verses.
The pages after that noted it was an "authorized version" of the International Bible Series.  After reading through it a bit I'm guessing it's perhaps a King James Version.
But what touched my heart the most was that it wasn't like some other old Bibles I've seen in my life which still have the golden gilding perfectly on the edges.  This Bible had been used.

In fact, it was fragile from being used.  There were a flower or two pressed in the pages,  a few very thin devotional pamphlets from the 50's stuck between pages, and a paper or two with verses written down in my grandmother's handwriting.  

For me it confirmed the fact that I've noticed a godly heritage coming through my family on my mom's side. There are aunts and uncles who are born again believers as well as cousins.  A praying God loving grandmother no doubt played an important role in that reality.  And now her Bible sits on my desk as a steady reminder of the importance of continuing in a path of growing in my faith and praying for my future generations - children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and more. 

There are many things a mother can give to her children through the years.  Be sure to follow hard after those things of faith which will impact your family for generations to come!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, January 19

say yes

My thought for the day.....


"Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God.  When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master.  I put myself gladly, fully, and forever at His disposal, and to whatever He says my answer is yes." ~ Elisabeth Elliot


Let your yes be yes!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 18

a winter recharger


There's nothing better for a homeschooling mom during the long months of winter than to get recharged with some encouragement and support.  Having attended before, I highly recommend the Heart of the Matter Online Conference.  This year's winter conference will be held February 21 - 23 and registration has already begun so scurry over and register HERE now!  Not convinced by my recommendation?  Then check out the speakers, the swag bag, the door prizes, and the testimonials of others at the conference website  Only $14.95 for a  homeschooling conference that you can enjoy in your pajamas!  And if you miss a session or two, you can always download them after the conference.  What are you waiting for?  Check it out now!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 17

still ruffling

You know the saying - "what goes around comes around"?
Well, here's a perfect example of that very thing.  Before my granddaughter got dressed for church yesterday morning, I knew I had to quickly snap a picture of the hand-me-down blouse she was wearing that had come through my line of daughters.

Ruffles!

Ruffles are *in* this winter!  A hand-me-down that is in perfect style as it was so many many many winters ago.  And it's even in pink!

Enjoy your Monday whether you are dressed in style or not in style which tends to be more my style!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 15

nothing is too hard

From my devotional yesterday:


"God loves us so well that He will not suffer us to take less than His highest will.  Some day we shall bless our faithful Teacher, who kept the standard inflexibly rigid, and then gave us the strength and grace to reach it, and would not excuse us until we had accomplished His glorious will." ~ A.B. Simpson


When I read this, well, I smiled to myself.  As God has put various callings on my life to follow where He was leading, how often have I whispered back to Him - "too hard too hard too hard" - and attempted to turn back the way *I* thought I should go.  


And yet hadn't I wanted with all my heart to be walking in His will for my life?  Hadn't I told Him I'd be willing to sacrifice where I needed to in order to be living my life for His purposes?  


Each time as I have taken those steps in the direction He was leading, He has faithfully provided the strength and grace needed.   Even through the tough times.  Even through the messy times.  Even through the buckets of tears.  He was there and His Word promises me He will never leave me nor forsake me.   


And that's good enough for me because NOTHING is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17) which means nothing is too hard for me! 


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 14

dearer than a deer

As I came back upstairs after making sure the woodburner was going well, I noted the temperature - three degrees.  Brrrrrrr!  The cat was sitting by the big doors that open to the deck and I wondered what kind of birds were giving him some entertainment outside on this cold chilly morning.  Upon looking I found not a single feathered friend.  Instead he was watching five or six deer walk through our front yard.  


Although it isn't unusual to see deer where we live, we rarely see them pass through by our home during the winter months because they apparently bed down for the winter somewhere else.  I noted the one who was looking back over its shoulder to see if the others were coming and you could see the frost develop on the fur of its back as it stood there breathing.  Brrrrrr!


I could never be a deer.  


I can't imagine actually LIVING outside all the time, especially when the temperatures get below zero or when there's perhaps a nasty freezing rain storm.   They don't put on extra clothing to warm up.  They don't throw another log on the fire to draw more heat.  They don't have an enclosed shelter to go into when the winter going gets tough.  They don't run to the store when they can find nothing to eat as the snow cover becomes deep.  


They simply survive because God created them in ways to survive.  He prepared their fur for all weather conditions, He taught them how to bed down to stay warm, He showed them what they can eat when their normal diet has disappeared, He simply takes care of them.  And I have yet to hear a single deer whine or complain.


Yup, I could never be a deer.


God instead created me to be a mom and He does the same things for me that he does for the deer.  He prepares me, teaches me, shows me, and cares for me.  Not only that, but He loves me more abundantly than I could ever comprehend.  I'm more dear to Him than the deer! The only thing I need to work on is those little whines or complaints that may be whispered from my lips from time to time.....


May you realize how dear YOU are to your Savior and rest in His love on this day!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 13

slow down to imitate

Reading through the beginning of John 13 about the example of servanthood Jesus showed to his disciples, the devotion that followed made a good point about how we tend to live which is perhaps without the servant mindset - "Sometimes, as we hurry about our own responsibilities, we become too busy to care about other people."


:::gulp:::


"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." ~ I Corinthians 11:1


You know, I haven't found an instance of Jesus hurrying and scurrying around to get His work done.  In fact, I can't think of an instance of His disciples or Paul doing that either.  They moved within the ebb and flow of their day ministering as they went along.  The people or tasks that came across their path were important at that moment.


It is a good point for me to remember right now.  Not that taking care of responsibilities isn't important because it is, but to also remember that serving others with a fullness of presence even in the lowliest of tasks is equally as important and needs to be done with the right heart attitude.  The Jesus attitude.


Just preaching to myself this morning.....


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 11

a hibernation shock

As I was lying in bed this morning resisting getting up, I decided I was going to write about how badly the typical January hibernation had set in this year.  The words were flowing through my mind quickly which was quite contrary to the speed my body was moving.  It's been that draggy feeling from morning to night as the days are cold, the light is sparse, and the kids are more fractious.  My usual routine of early up and out of bed has been badly delayed since the month started although I'm unsure if the symptoms are from my January hibernation or the frequent ups and downs throughout the night as my body shifts from blazing hot to freezing cold.  A little more sunshine would probably be helpful...just sayin'.


So as I slowly dragged my  currently cold body out of bed, I groggily made my way to my computer to check on the morning's news and weather while my husband brewed up the perfect cup of coffee.  


And suddenly I was wide awake!


Naw, the news and weather weren't that exciting.  Instead it was a couple of very early morning emails from a very pregnant daughter which sent me directly to the telephone.  


After phone calls back and forth over the next couple of hours, life settled again as all was determined to be well and there was no imminent baby arrival a month early.  Whew!  However, once life calmed what was even more interesting was picking up the local newspaper and reading that the first baby of the year at our local hospital arrived a month early after the mother's water broke early in the morning.  A new mother totally unprepared.


Me. Totally unprepared.  That was exactly how I felt as I considered the fact that my January hibernation had put me in a state of inactivity and snail-like speed while working on all the tasks on my very long list.  And perhaps that would be okay if there was nothing important going on....however, I need to have things taken care of around here so I could confidently drop everything if I needed to leave in a hurry to watch a grandbaby come into the world.  


The hibernation shock of this morning kept me busy all.day.long.


Now at the end of this day, I'm very tired.  Will I stay so motivated when morning returns or will this mama bear prefer her warm cozy den to sleep a bit longer? 


Stay tuned   :::yawn:::


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 10

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 10


For today January 10

Outside my window.....the skies are mostly cloudy today and the temperatures are in the low 20's which is mild for January. 

I am thinking.....about all the things I need to accomplish this week and how it'll only all get done with God's help as I certainly don't have the energy in my own strength. 

I am thankful.....for how God continues to provide for our family.

I am wearing.....a denim skirt with a long sleeved light teal top and a navy blue zip sweater.

I am hearing.....my girls singing with the microphone that one of them received as a Christmas gift.

I am creating.....a list of ideas for birthday gifts this year.

I am going.....to be in and out of the house all week long.

I am reading....my Bible and the book The Five Love Languages which was a replacement at Christmas for the one I gave away. I tend to give away favorite books and then replace them until I give them away again.
 
I am praying.....for a son who will be going through very intense training over the weeks ahead.
 
I am fondly remembering.....my mom whose birthday would have been yesterday.

I am hoping.....that our family will continue to be healthy in the days ahead.

On my mind.....is having to deal with the end of the year business bookwork.
 
From the learning rooms....we have gotten back on track after our holiday break and look forward to very soon hitting the halfway through the year mark.

Noticing that....all my clothing has tight waistbands at the moment.  Holidays!  Grrrrr!

Pondering these words....."Laziness means more work in the long run." ~ C.S. Lewis

From the kitchen.....will be a return to regular food as all our extra people have returned to their homes or to college.


Around the house....are too many piles of clothes right now that need a final sorting so they can go to their perspective places.

One of my favorite things.....are flowery calendars.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include schooling, working, Bible studies midweek, and getting ready for a large crew arriving for some cabin time this weekend while the grands stay here.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.... 
Here's a glimpse of the pretty pink flowers that were given to me by my son's family the week before New Years.  They are just starting to fade a bit, but are still pretty enough to make me smile.  


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 January or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 8

the double sun of today

Ahhhh, it's been such a busy week!  By last night I was totally wiped out and ready for rest.  How nice to wake up this morning to a quiet sleepy house and sip my first cup of coffee in solitude.  Although I've had a brief devotional time in my Oswald Chambers book each morning, it was the first opportunity I had to really start going through the devotional journal that I recently purchased for the new year of 2011.  


Ohhhh, it felt soooo good to ponder over God's Word in the stillness of the morning!  To read, to think, to journal, to pray, and to apply in the days ahead with the help of the Holy Spirit.  It felt like brilliant sunshine to my spirit as I arose from my desk to check on the rest of my household.


Awwww, it was all enhanced by the skies that cleared allowing the warming sunshine to stream through my windows.  There is absolutely nothing like the bright sunshine to improve my day as we've had too many gray cloudy flurrying kind of days lately.


Sun on the inside and sun on the outside.  A perfect day indeed!


Enjoy your weekend!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 6

the greater measure

My pondering for the day - "The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him." ~ Oswald Chambers


This statement stopped me as I considered how much we can squeeze into our day yet will often realize at the end of the day that we hadn't made much time at all for God.  Yet without that private time spent with God much of our squeezed in public activity could be considered quite meaningless.  


Hmmm, seems like the beginning of the new year would be a good time to prove the worthiness of this very statement by doing the opposite of what we tend to do. How about making private profound communion with God a worthy main time priority and doing all that other public stuff only if there is time left?  Perhaps the public activity would shine with God's fingerprints all over it bringing Him the glory?


It's worth a try!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 5

a newness

Living in the illusion that things slow down after the holidays, I'm finally getting  my new calendars out.  Yes, on the 5th of January.  There are three main calendars that I use in my house and I need to sit down with all three at once as I record all the birthdays, anniversaries, regular activities, special dates, and anything else of importance.  Hopefully I will get at that this week.  Yes, this week.  The days are so full right now that I am feeling breathless midweek and looking forward to that slowing down after the holidays although I'm not quite certain WHEN that will happen.


The verse running around January's page comes from Romans 6:4 - "Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."    I think I like how the ESV states the end of this verse better - "...we too might walk in newness of life."  


Even though life is so full, each day is a new day and holds new experiences.  May we each walk with a newness in our step that brings glory to our Heavenly Father as we go through the days of January!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 3

inseparable link

"Prayer and the Word are inseparably linked together.  Power in the use of either depends on the presence of the other." ~ Andrew Murray


This afternoon I spent some quiet time steadily walking through various rooms of an office building reading psalm after psalm out loud in the midst of short prayers.  It truly was hard to stop and had it not been so cold I may have continued longer.  Let's just say it would be a highly recommended task for any believer to do....especially a mother as she walks through the rooms of her home!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 1

pondering to be resolved

Through the years I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions since they only seem to be promises which are doomed to failure.  However on this first day of a brand new year, I have been pondering my way through a list of SEVENTY resolutions written in the 1700's by a known preacher, theologian, and missionary by the name of Jonathan Edwards.  It has been noted that he'd read through this list on a weekly basis as he resolved to live in a more godly manner.


Perhaps I'll endeavor to resolve a few things on this list myself in the new year.  Interested, too?  You can read through The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards on the Desiring God website and ponder them yourself!


Happy New Year!


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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