livingthrufaith

a blog about life, family, and faith


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February is the New January

Yep, that is what I have decided.  I’m starting 2018 with February!  In all honesty, I’m actually still a little behind from the beginning of the month.  So, oh, well!  I guess that will just have to be the theme of the year. Lol!

Despite our best efforts, Sarah, Brian and I started out the new year sick.  When someone gets sick while you are traveling, there is just not much you can do to keep it from spreading.  Unfortunately, it was about two weeks into January before we all were feeling back to normal.  Now we are doing a lot of praying and using Thieves hand purifier like crazy anytime we go out to places like Walmart, just trying to keep from getting the flu.

[I interrupt this moment for a Public Service Announcement:  If you are sick, do not try to be a martyr and work through it.  For all our sakes, STAY HOME!!]

Now, this doesn’t mean that nothing got done in January.  We did have some accomplishments.  I just had so much more planned.  So many changes or tweaks I planned to make.  Adjustments I wanted to make to get into better routines and rhythms for each day.  I had business plans and ministry plans and school plans.  But, part of my goal for 2018 is being ok with those things that don’t get done.  So, I’m going to take a moment to breathe, pray, and then take one more step forward.  (Of course, that may be easier said than done some days.)

So as far as January goes, …

… I did get a menu planned for the entire month – even though I was making adjustments most of the time.  It did simplify my grocery list process and helped me think through meals a little quicker on a weekly basis.  (I’m already making adjustments to the February menu, but the full month is planned!)

… I worked out our basic homeschool lesson plans between now and the end of the year!  This was huge for me!!!  Each week I will have to make adjustments because, well, life happens and plans change.  Plus, I still have a few extra things I would like for us to do this year that just haven’t happened yet, so I am hoping to add those in soon.

 

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… We reorganized Sarah’s closet!  Before Christmas we switched Daniel and Sarah’s room because she needed the bigger closet.  However, it was a pretty much a – throw it in and we will deal with it later – event.  It is now sooo much better!

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… Brian & I worked through our calendars through June and specifically scheduled Date Nights.  (Yes, it has only taken us 25 years of marriage to get this concept down.) We are trying to get in at least two official Date Nights a month. We had our first monthly Basement Movie Night in January.  It’s freezing in our basement, so we settled in under blankets, turned on the space heater, and watched our movie pick for the month.  The ending turned out really bad, so we created our own alternate ending.  Bad guys still lost, the good one didn’t die and everyone lived happily ever after.  Come on Hollywood, get it right next time!

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… I tried out my new Instant Pot!  I’ve made bean soup, roasted potatoes, several batches of rice, pork chops, mashed potatoes, chicken drumsticks, and chicken wings.  It is not always a specific time saver, but it is definitely a leave it and forget it deal.  I managed to cook in it 4 times in one day and I wasn’t home all day!

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… and Sarah and I painted our dining room and sitting room.  Those rooms had dots all over the walls from where we had put up Sarah’s birthday decorations.  The paint on the walls in this house is horrible!  It stains like crazy.  The timeline for repainting has been moved up, especially now that the other rooms are done and they make the rest look even worse.  However, in the process we discovered that the crappy paint on the walls also alters the color of the new paint.  So my Brook Green shows up as Brook Blue.  The paint on the can, in the pan, and even on the sheet rock in the basement stairwell is all green, the paint on the wall is blue.  That will put a whole new spin on future paint choices.

So, I guess that was not too shabby for a month that really didn’t happen!

I’m still trying to catch up and work through some projects that need to be done, but hopefully everyone will stay well and I can be productive enough to get on to developing those routines and rhythms I wanted to put in place.

But through all the ups and downs, the chaos, adjustments, and complete overhauls, I can hold fast to this promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Living thru faith,

Misty

 

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Simplify 2018

Simplify

[sim-pluh-fahy]

  1. to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

For the last couple of months I have felt the Lord telling me to simplify.  Sounds heavenly, right?!  My life is crazy and it seems to get crazier by the day.  It’s not that the things filling my life are not important.  I can justify everything that is causing the craziness.  So what am I supposed to give up?  What am I supposed to stop doing?

Over these months of asking these questions, I think I finally have an answer.

Nothing.

Say what?!

Yep. Nothing.

But, wait.  There’s more. Not only am I not supposed to give up anything, I am supposed to be adding to it.  You know, sometimes the Lord makes no sense!  How do I simplify my life when I have to keep doing everything I’m doing plus add more to my plate?  Really, Lord?!  Could you give me a little more direction, please?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

I still don’t know how this is going to work, but I have come to a few realizations…

Time..

I need more time with God. I need more time in prayer, more time in study, more time sitting in His presence.

Priorities…

I have to re-evaluate, re-examine, and re-organize.  My two top priorities (after time with God) are taking care of my family and homeschooling my daughter. Everything else has to revolve around those two.

Focus…

My focus has to change.  Changing my focus will change why I do things.  Changing my focus will change how I do things.  Changing my focus is where I simplify.

By definition, simplify means to make it less complicated; make it less complex, plainer…easier.  But let us not confuse easier with easy.  Making things easier or simpler, can actually be very hard.  Making my life less complicated and less complex, is going to take a lot of work. I may have to do more to make something simpler, because my focus is on the why not the how.  Decisions are going to have to be made.  Some of those decisions are going to be hard.  Some are not going to be popular, even with myself. Some are not going to make sense to anyone else or even to me.

But spending time focusing on the One who determines my priorities and my focus

that makes life less complicated, less complex, plainer, a little easier…

simpler.

Living thru faith,

Misty


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Joy for the Journey

As we continue our Advent Study, this week we are looking at Joy.

“You will teach me God’s way to live.  Being with you will fill me with joy.  At your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”  Psalm 16:11 (ICB)

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“….Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

Oh, the Joy of the Lord! It’s that Joy  which gives us the strength to keep taking one more step when the journey gets hard.

The Joy that fills us with hope that all will be right again.

The Joy that causes us to smile in the midst of pain and brings us peace in the midst of chaos.

“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

True, deep, hope-filled joy only comes from God.  How amazing that even when our hearts seem to only be filled with sadness, God’s joy remains!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”   John 15:11

I think Sarah summed it all up well…

“It is saying that if we follow God he will teach us the right way to live so he can give us the joy that comes from him and us being with him!  And, as the scripture says, we will find all the pleasure we can ever have just by being at his right hand!  Not to mention, I think that it’s also saying that is all the joy we will ever need!”

May you be filled with Joy of the Lord this Christmas season and all the seasons to come, the only joy that is all we will ever need!

Living thru faith,

Misty

 

 


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Love Came Down

This week we have been lighting the candle of Love.  We want to reflect on God’s love during Advent because…

His love is perfect. His love never leaves us, never fails us, never ends.

God came down to us because He is Love.

Love came down to us.

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Love came down as a little baby born in a simple stable – barren of basic comforts, yet filled with the presence of a King.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was not room for them in the inn.”   Luke 2:6-7

Love came down to lowly shepherds – filling the darkness of night with the Light from above.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…” Luke 2:9

Love came down not only to show His love to us, but to show us how to love.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…” 1 John 4:7

“We love because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:16

Love came down to die so that we may live.

“This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”  1 John 4:9

Love came down for you and for me – sinners, unworthy – yet loved and wanted and deemed worthy through His love.

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”  Psalm 86:5

Wherever you are His love is there.

He does not hide His love from you.

He does not keep His love from you.

Love came down – freely given because of His love for you and for me.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love…” 1 John 4:16

May you know His love this Christmas.

Living thru faith,

Misty

 


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Hoping when our hearts are breaking

Yesterday, heaven added another angel to their chorus of praise.

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Precious Baby Michael was only with us for seven weeks, but during that time he brought joy to all those who were given the gift of knowing him.  And, while I never got to meet him, I loved him.

And, because I love his sweet momma, my heart breaks even more as I watch her heart breaking.

As I held my own sweet girl while she cried for a baby she had come to love and for her precious friend who just lost a brother, my heart broke some more.

But as our hearts are breaking, we have hope.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5

When Jesus lives in our hearts, it doesn’t mean we will not hurt.  It doesn’t mean we will not grieve.

But it does mean that we grieve with hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  Hebrews 6:19a

That hope helps us to walk the journey before us.  That hope gives us strength when we feel like we can’t take one more step.  That hope gives us peace when we feel like our whole world is in chaos.  That hope gives us joy when we wonder how we will ever feel joy again.  That hope brings us love when love seems so far away.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”  Psalm 33:18

This journey was not one that we wanted to take, but it a journey that we will take – one step at a time, together, with hope in the One who is faithful to keep His promises.  The One who is our Hope.

Your strength is found
At the end of my road
Your grace it reaches to the hurting
Still through the tears and the questioning why
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found

– O’ Lord by Lauren Daigle

 

This hope can be yours.  It is not for only a select few.  It is not only for those who are perfect and have all their stuff together.  It is for everyone.  Everyone who hurts, everyone who loves, everyone who feels lost and unworthy.  Everyone who makes mistakes and has regrets.  If you have been looking for hope and not sure where to find it, please talk to me or someone you trust.  This hope is not for us to keep to ourselves, but to share.  Allow us the gift of sharing it with you.

Living in faith,

Misty

 

 


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Our Hope

“And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will HOPE. 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 15:12-13

Our Advent Wreath sits on our dining room table just waiting for us to gather around, asking us to prepare our hearts for the coming of our King.

Sunday evening we lit the candle of Hope.  Oh, how we need to fill our hearts with hope!

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Each morning Sarah and I begin our school day lighting this Hope candle, reading scripture, discussing what that scripture is telling us and how we can apply it to our lives, and then praying that scripture over us.  It has been a wonderful way to start our mornings. (You can find the free study here.)

Yesterday, I was really moved by the scripture we read and Sarah’s response on how to apply it to our lives.  I wanted to share it with you and maybe it will bring you a little bit of Hope today.

“The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will do the things I promised.  I made a special promise to the people of Israel and Judah.  In those days and at that time, I will make a righteous branch sprout from David’s family.  He will do what is fair and right in the land.”  Jeremiah 33:14-15 (ICB)

From Sarah…

Jesus is going to fulfill the promise that God made with Israel and Judah…This scripture tells us that God keeps his promises to us and won’t forget them.  Therefore, we can trust him with our full hearts, just like David, and just like we should always be doing everyday for our whole lives!

Oh, the joy that fills my soul when I hear her speak words from God or hear her sing her praises to the Lord she loves.  I know that God has a plan for Sarah and I know He will fulfill His promises to her.  That gives me Hope.

God keeps his promises.  God has a plan.  Nothing is left to chance.  I can trust God to keep his promises with the plan that He has for my life.  That gives me Hope.

God loves his people, even when we don’t love Him.  He will keep his promises, even when we do not keep ours.  That give me Hope.

May the God who loves you enough to keep his promises of the wondrous plan he has set out for you, bring you Hope in this season of Advent.

Living thru faith,

Misty

 


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I Want To Be That Kind of Tired

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been reading a collection of Shel Silverstein poems with Sarah each evening at bedtime.  Last night I thought I had found MY poem.  The title…   TIRED

I’ve been working so hard you just wouldn’t believe,

And I’m tired!

There’s so little time and so much to achieve,

And I’m tired!

I’ve been lying here holding the grass in its place,

Pressing a leaf with the side of my face,

Tasting the apples to see if they’re sweet,

Counting the toes on a centipede’s feet.

I’ve been memorizing the shape of that cloud,

Warning the robins to not chirp so loud,

Shooing the butterflies off the tomatoes,

Keeping an eye out for floods and tornadoes,

I’ve been supervising the work of the ants

And thinking of pruning the cantaloupe plants,

Timing the sun to see what time it sets,

Calling the fish to swim into my nets,

And I’ve taken twelve thousand and forty-one breaths,

And I’m TIRED!

 

Oh to be that kind of tired!  🙂

 

Living thru faith,

Misty