Friday, February 28

to choose beyond the brrrrrrr!

Some weeks it takes forever to get here, but this week Friday came quickly.  It's time for Five Minute Friday.  Write for five minutes on one word.  No editing.  Post it.  Link it.  Then read the post before yours and be sure to leave a note of encouragement behind.  In fact, feel free to read several of the posts, leave several notes of encouragement, and make several new friends.  The word for today is CHOOSE.  Ready!  Set!  Go!


CHOOSE

This winter weather is certainly nothing I would ever choose.  I read the stats this morning that we've had 54 subzero low temperatures this winter and 9 subzero high temperatures in February alone.  NINE!  The worst part is that those of us who would choose to be outside in the winter to help the days pass more quickly - especially this winter with all the snow we've received - are stuck indoors because of the extreme cold.  No one would choose such a harsh winter and I'm running into more and more people who are wondering if they can get through much more of this.  The mental challenge is getting the best of them as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the typical cabin fever is raging.

We may have no control over this crazy extreme weather, but we are able to choose our own attitudes.  Again and again the verse comes to my mind - ".....choose this day whom you will serve..." (Joshua 24:15).  I can get caught up in all the complaining and moaning and groaning over this endless extreme winter OR I can go with the "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)  

We really only have this moment in time.  Nothing beyond it is guaranteed.  And yes, it does take a conscious effort.  But through His Word and the encouragement of friends we can choose wisely!

Stop!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, February 27

part of the ten


Awwww!  See my new sidebar button under my picture?  I made it onto the Homeschool Blog Top Ten Best Encourager Blog list!  

THANK YOU to those who voted for me back in November! Your faithful reading of this blog is appreciated.  You may be quiet, but regularly bless me with your emails.  You're the best!

If you are a homeschooling parent in need of some encouragement, especially during this long winter, go and check out the other nine bloggers on the list by clicking on this link ----> Encouragement for Homeschoolers

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, February 26

make it matter




"Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter."      ~ D.L. Moody

What are you spending your time on?  Something that the world around you sees as important or something that will follow you into eternity?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, February 25

the common mercies

"Let us daily praise God for common mercies — common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless that when deprived of them we are ready to perish." ~ Charles Spurgeon

It's so easy to get grumbly this time of the year as the winter wears on and on and on.  Our thankful list often feels like it's shrinking.  Sometimes it requires us to look beyond the easy list of thanksgiving (home, family, good health) as we realize that EVERY thing comes from our loving Heavenly Father.  

Here's a quick list as I sit here at my desk....my new favorite coffee cup, pencils, a pen, a calculator, a friend who sewed me a pretty cover for my Bible (three things there!), warm fuzzy socks, curtains that can be shut to keep the heat in at night, paper, my backpack, yarn for my scarf, the desk I use, my computer, the clock ticking away time, a purring cat, coupons for groceries, the sunshine out my window, my resting garden, my checkbook and God's provision within it, the cord that powers my computer, the water that made coffee, healthy lungs for each breath I take, eyes to see all of these things, fingers to type all these things, and ........well, you get the point.  Once you start, it's hard to stop!

Spend some time making a common mercies list and watch your heart grow in thankfulness!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, February 22

braving the white


Having watched plenty of snowboarding in the Olympics over the past couple of weeks and after a foot or so of freshly drifted new snow, my girls were outside building up a snowboard ramp despite below zero windchills blowing on their face.   

It just feels good to be outside AND to see some sunshine even if it's only for a short while.  Too many heavy cloudy days lately.  Plus we're headed back into the polar vortex this coming week which will definitely keep us indoors again.

What a winter, eh?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, February 21

for the love of small

The snow falls, the wind blows, the temperatures drop. Thankful for a writing distraction that takes me from looking out the window to something new to focus on - Five Minute Friday  Write for five minutes on one word.  No editing.  Post it. Then go and read what others have written and leave them notes of encouragement along the way.  Today's word is SMALL.  Ready!  Set!  Go!

SMALL

One of the quotes I recently pinned on Pinterest was - "God is so big He can cover the whole world with His love, and so small He can curl up inside your heart." ~ June Master Bacher  

The quote came right when I needed it.  

There's moments when life seems so hard and it is only accentuated when you are involved in ministry with broken people.  You know without a doubt that God is big enough to cover the whole world with His love which is proven by those familiar words "For God so loved the world....." from John 3:16 and yet His love seems invisible in this world that constantly rejects Him.  His love also seems invisible at times to those in this world who love Him as they call out to Him and wait in silence asking where He is in the midst of such a messy world or even maybe where He is in the midst of our own messy life.

It is in those particular moments that the reminder comes in perfect timing that HE IS SO SMALL HE CAN CURL UP INSIDE YOUR HEART.  

Sorry to be shouting, but that is the reminder so many of us need.  The reminder of how close God's love is for us.  It's inside our heart.  It's our heartbeat.  It's what keeps us going in the times of silence.  It's what keeps us going in the midst of the messy world or in the midst of our own messy lives.  


How thankful I am to not only know how BIG God's love is, but how SMALL it is, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, February 20

good grief!

My youngest has followed the pattern of several of her siblings....she has turned into a voracious reader.  She enjoys reading and working her way through various series.  The problem is that we often don't have all the books of a series so it means waiting on the interlibrary loan program for their arrival.  That is REALLY HARD to do when the weather is extremely cold keeping us indoors even more than usual.  So, it was a great blessing recently when she meandered among our own bookshelves and ran across a very much loved collection of books that were read by me as a child and which her siblings have enjoyed through the years, too.

CHARLIE BROWN

It is a very fun collection of books which are easy to pick up and put down over and over again.  They are a relaxing read and she's always giggling about something.  That giggling leads to this....."Mom, you have to read these two pages.  They are so funny!"

Nothing beats some good clean fun reading on a cold snowy winter's day, even with several expressions of - "Good grief, Charlie Brown!" - mixed in with it!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, February 17

Simple Woman's Daybook for February 17


For February 17

Outside my window.....it's a little breezy as we receive a new dumping of snow.

I am thinking.....about my "To Do" list sitting next to me on my desk for today.  There's a lot to do!

I am thankful.....for the friendships God has placed in my life at this time.


I am wearing....a long sleeved blue shirt covered by a gray fleece zip-up and a pair of blue jeans.  

I am hearing.....the little dog we are watching for friends as he paws at my daughter's door.

I am wondering.....if we need to contact someone about shoveling all the snow off our roof?

I am creating.....a new space in my bedroom to work on a variety of things.  I feel the need to be immersed in sunlight right now and my bedroom is THE best place for warm sunshine.

I am going.....to a baby shower this weekend if the weather doesn't throw off our travels.

I am reading....."The Truth about Style" by Stacy London

I am praying.....for a friend whose husband is going through an intense treatment for an aggressive cancer with hopes he'll be given a little more time on this earth. 

I am remembering.....those first moments after my babies were born which was prompted by a flurry of newborns lately.

I am hoping.....our health continues to hold and we stay well.

On my mind.....is wanting to get outside to walk and run and breathe deeply.  This weather is driving me crazy!

From the learning rooms.....our studies are going well.  We are patiently waiting on hearing from one more college that has been applied to so one of my daughters can finalize her fall plans.

I am learning....that God uses a lot more things than just a lot of children to build patience into your life.

Noticing that.....even our cat is attempting to sneak out the door after too much winter!

I am looking forward to.....the upcoming play performance at the local high school. 

Pondering these words.....a quote from yesterday's sermon - "The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren't actually interested in following Christ.  They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them." ~ Kyle Idleman

From the kitchen.....where we are thankful that the sweet treats made for Valentines Day are GONE.

Around the house....are little scraps of wood that seem to catch on our socks when sitting by the woodburner.

One of my favorite things.....are smiles that pop onto people's faces when they see you.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include calling to make various appointments, a few days of work, play practice and work for a daughter, writing a newsletter, and hopefully family time on the weekend.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....
This is the fence along our driveway which is almost buried from the snow piling up against it.  The snow will provide great moisture for all the spring bulbs planted along it.

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, February 15

speaking of the garden

Having to use the word "garden" yesterday caused me to wander outside for a current picture of my garden:

My garden is sound asleep under a two foot covering of snow.  

The carrots and beets that I decided to leave in the garden with a  covering of straw before the snow came are also sound asleep under two feet of snow.  My plan to dig them out as I wanted to use them throughout the winter was quickly foiled once my garden gate froze solid in the snow. Oh well.  Live and learn and see what they look like once the snow melts, right?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Friday, February 14

the garden from old


The day is almost done, but it's not too late to participate in Five Minute Friday.  Write for five minutes on one word.  No editing.  Post it.  Then go to Five Minute Friday and read what others have written leaving words of encouragement along the way.  Today's word is GARDEN.  Yup, can you believe it?  A word that I could write volumes on because I love my garden! This is going to be a challenge!  Ready.  Set.  Go!


GARDEN

My gardening roots go way back to wandering through my grandma's garden as a little girl.  When I think about it now, the images in my mind are of lots of greenery, the black dirt pathways, and the sense of warm sunshine on my face. Couldn't tell you a single thing about what was growing in my grandma's garden.  All I know is that it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it. 

I wonder if it has anything to do with something else that comes to mind when I think about being a little girl and spending time at my grandma's house?  Because when I think back I always connect my grandma with the old Presbyterian church she faithfully attended.  The images in my mind are of the wooden pews, creaks in the floor, and the music.  Yes, the music and listening to my grandma in the church choir.  

There's one song that still sticks out in my mind from childhood visits in her church that I still love to this day - "In the Garden"......."And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known."

THAT is what makes my garden so special.  It tends to be a quiet peaceful place where I talk to the Lord.  Going through the rows of greenery on dirt paths with the warm sunshine on my face, I am reminded that I am His own.  His beloved. Could there truly be any greater joy to my heart?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, February 13

ready to wither?

With snow falling like crazy outside my windows first thing this morning, it seemed like a good day to stay put and not travel in to work.  Quite simple to work here today since I'm up to my elbows with paperwork which can be done anywhere.

So, I instead settled in with my Bible and devotional by the fire.  My reading took me through Psalm 90 which I read, re-read, read yet again.  Thankful to not be in a rush this morning, I could stop and ponder and sigh and be humbled as the verses talked about the length of our days.

"You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:  in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers." ~ Psalm 90:5-6


"The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away." ~ Psalm 90:10

As I read this and considered my age, it means I have about a 15 year span left to flourish.  

As I read this and considered how quickly my 55 years have passed, a 15 year span is but a blink of an eye.  

As I read this and considered reality, there are no guarantees of a single day of life for my single blade of grass could fade and wither today.

It comes down to this verse - "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12

My days are numbering quickly at this point and I do desire to have wisdom from God to flourish and to live each day fully for Him.  

How about you?  As you consider your days past and present, are you living them in a way that you can say "it is well with my soul"?  Considering this is worthy of taking a few moments to think about as you reflect on your life - where you've been, where you're going, and how you can number your days to bring glory to God!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, February 11

adjusting


As the number of below zero days this winter gets close to 60 days (yes, SIXTY, can you believe it?), an interesting thing has happened.  We've all adjusted to the extreme cold.  Gone are the days of posting about it on Facebook.  Gone are the days of camaraderie complaining.  Gone are the days of not leaving the house.   

People have grown used to wearing several layers of clothing all day long.  Warming up our cars before we go anywhere is common place. Talking about what is going on around the world is back to being a topic.  Getting out and about to connect with others is happening more.  The extreme cold hasn't left (minus 21 degrees as I type this), but we are handling it much better

It really is quite fascinating to observe.  

Was it turning the calendar page that helped?  Disbelief in the groundhog's predictions?  The birds out and about singing in the morning?

Something changed that brought us hope of spring.

As I consider the difficult season in my life, an interesting thing has happened.  I'm adjusting to the extreme situations that are filtering across my path.  Gone are the days of each situation being constantly  on my mind.  Gone are days of all the "what if's" that bring anxiety.  Gone are the days of not wanting to face certain people or places or events.  

My heart has grown used to this being a new reality in my life. My heart is turning each situation over to my Heavenly Father who truly is the only One who can change others and impact the future.  My heart has received the strength and courage it needs to approach certain people or places or events.

It really is quite fascinating to observe.

Was it from beginning  a new devotional in the new year that addresses these specific kinds of things?  Disbelief in what the world predicts can be the outcome?  The encouragement and support of friends rallying around me?

Something changed that brought me HOPE of new beginnings.

And there is no doubt that a steady filling of God's Word and His promises have the ability to do the transformation work my heart and mind need to live fully for Him.

Like my verse from yesterday:  "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~ Romans 15:13 

Going through a difficult time?  Try filling your life with God's Word and see what happens!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, February 8

going out and back



The days of this short month are already slipping away from me.  The verse for February is from Isaiah 55:12 - "For you shall go out in joy and be led back in peace."



And do you know why you can go out and be led back with those two wonderful  qualities in your life?  It's because of the verses before this one:



"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." ~ Isaiah 55:10 - 11

When you begin your day in God's Word and commit all the moments ahead into His hands, you can go out in joy.  His Word will go forth through you with His purposes working in your life in everything you do.  Living for Him throughout the day brings a peace to your heart at the end of the day.  As you walk faithfully through your day know that God will bring forth fruit from all you do.  You may not see it now, but trust that you are sowing seeds for Him.  

May you know His joy and peace! 

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, February 7

write for Him


The week has flow by and here we are at Friday already.  Up for the challenge of five minute writing? Write for five minutes on one word.  No editing. Post it.  Then go to Five Minute Writing and read what others have written and leave them a note of encouragement.  The word for this week is WRITE.  Ready. Set. GO!

WRITE

Having a woodburner is a wonderful thing in many ways.   It keeps the house a steady warm cozy temperature.  It is so economical to use if you have easy access to a wood supply.  It builds muscles in those who split, stack, and carry each piece of wood.  AND it is the perfect thing to sit by when you want to read and get warm at the same time.

But it's also the perfect thing to sit by when you want to write. Specifically when you want to write to God.

For a mom whose life is busy multi-tasking her multi-tasking with a variety of situations that are filtering through her life, it is often hard to process it all.  And when you pray about it, your mind wants to multi-task.  But when you sit down by the fire with a pencil and paper, there is a focus that allows all the words to be flowing out written line by line and often with tears.  Then you can take the written pages, commit them ALL to God, and toss them in the woodburner with no trail for anyone to stumble upon.  It's one of those safe moments between you and God that meets a huge need in your life.


Watching the flames as the written words disappear warms your heart knowing that God has heard, it doesn't change a single thing about how much He loves you, and He'll lovingly answer in His way and His time.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, February 6

only a mom

Sometimes life is soooo busy that there isn't much time to blog.  So you just jump on for a few minutes to post an important update - I finally had a few minutes to shop and replace my one and only pair of jeans that was full of holes (can you imagine....people actually pay money for jeans with holes?!?!)


Welcome to my new pair of mom jeans!



Go ahead and laugh!  They fit well and are very comfortable, thank you very much!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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